Mcity's new approach vets safety of driverless vehicles before they hit public roads

UM's public-private partnership leads mobility research at Ann Arbor facility

By Meredith Bruckner - Community News Producer

Photo: Pexels

ANN ARBOR - In the wake of two highly publicized deaths involving self-driving vehicles in the U.S. in 2018, researchers at University of Michigan's autonomous vehicle technology testing facility, Mcity, have developed a new approach that would evaluate the safety of highly connected vehicles before they take on public roads.

The Mcity ABC Test concept for highly automated vehicles brings a new independent safety assessment to testing, along with on-road evaluation and simulation.

"Highly automated vehicles must be developed in a responsible way to fully realize their promise as a useful tool that will benefit society," Mcity Director Huei Peng, who is leading the Mcity ABC Test project said in a statement. "The Mcity ABC Test is an approach that can help rebuild public trust and accelerate the development of these potentially life-changing vehicles."

A woman was killed in Arizona in March of 2018 when an automated Uber vehicle prototype failed to detect her when she was crossing the street. This type of vehicle was a Level-4, which can drive on its own without human intervention.

Five days later, a man was killed in California while he was driving a Level-2 automated Tesla vehicle and using its "Autopilot" highway assist system. The system failed to pick up on the driver's inattention and crashed into a roadside barrier, catching fire. A Level-2 vehicle requires the driver's attention at all times and intervention when necessary.

Recent surveys conducted by JD Power and other groups found that nearly 50 percent of American consumers are concerned about autonomous vehicle safety.

Mcity is now searching for funding to prove the ABC Test concept.

Read the white paper released Tuesday titled "Mcity ABC Test: A Concept to Assess the Safety Performance of Highly Automated Vehicles."
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