Aurora is perfecting the technology needed to stop an autonomous truck
Aurora said the company reached this milestone earlier than expected because it was ahead of schedule for security research. That’s partly the result of its virtual test suite, an internal simulation tool that checks out new features before they’re rolled out in the real world. In the case of the fault management system, Aurora said it conducted hundreds of thousands of simulation tests before its demonstration in Texas in June. The company has long viewed its simulation technology as a key strength and differentiator.
Aurora also said it made systems development the core of its Fail-Safe principle.
“A lot of the time we talk about these kinds of sexy machine learning and computer vision issues, which are obviously important,” Aurora CEO and co-founder Chris Urmson said in May. “To have a commercially viable product, you have to deal with what happens when the product somehow breaks.”
Aurora isn’t alone in pushing to develop large, fail-safe, autonomous platforms and demonstrate the technology in the real world. In May, Kodiak Robotics held a public demonstration disabling an Ethernet cable that was part of its self-driving system and showed video of a Class 8 truck with its shoulder-pulling technology along Interstate 45. near Dallas. Waymo, a Google subsidiary, says it routinely tests its trucks under minimal-risk conditions on closed routes, planning for trucks to pull into the shoulder or run off the road at the nearest exit.
“Our Fault Management System enables the Aurora driver to responsibly manage a range of circumstances on the road – detecting, diagnosing and responding to system issues with an emphasis on safe and reliable driving,” wrote Nat Beuse, vice president of corporate security, in an email to Automotive News. “This development is part of our comprehensive and responsible approach to safety, and a critical part of how we will deploy autonomous vehicles for commercial use.”