2019 Research Project

Safety testing for connected and automated vehicles through physical and digital iterative deployment

Principal Investigator
Subhadeep Chakraborty 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville 
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Co-Principal Investigator
Asad J. Khattak 
University of Tennessee, Knoxville 
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Co-Principal Investigator
Missy Cummings 
Duke University 
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Currently, many manufacturers are selling vehicles with SAE Level 2 or 3 automation and testing with more advanced vehicles on public roads (level 4). However, recent crashes have raised critical questions about their safety. Are these vehicles with lower or higher automation safe enough to drive on public roads, and more fundamentally, how do we assess their safety envelope? Currently, there is no consensus about whether testing should exist at the state or federal level, what functions should be tested, and how independent testing should occur, and what constitutes safe thresholds.

In this CSCRS project, we seek to address this gap by developing a comprehensive testing protocol specifically for Level 2 and 3 connected and automated vehicles by using a novel software and physical deployment platform which allows rapid iterative development. With such a testing protocol, automated vehicles can be systematically tested and certified to be generally safe before being tested on public roads. The key objectives of this research are to:

  1. Conduct a thorough review of ongoing efforts by standards organizations such as SAE, ISO and others including the UL 4600 standard under development.
  2. Develop a testing protocol that will standardize how to systematically and safely test Level 2 and 3 automated vehicles regarding their functions and capabilities with considerations of the driver and environment settings. The protocol will be designed to allow accelerated testing and identification of fringe cases and stress points where automated systems will be prone to failure.
  3. Provide safety certification standard recommendations that regulatory agencies at the state and federal levels and the private sector can use, if they so choose.
  4. Involve stakeholders, i.e., government agencies and private sector companies, in the CAV testing and enable discussion on safety and certification processes.

Project Details

Project Type: Research
Project Status: Active
Start Date: 7-1-2019
End Date: 7-1-2021
Contract Year: Year 3
Total Funding from CSCRS: $147, 520