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Shortcut in the Way Self-Driving Cars Are Tested Could Bring Them to the Road Quicker

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【Summary】According to researchers at the University of Michigan, a shortcut in the way autonomous cars are evaluated, could allow companies and automakers to get self-driving vehicles on the road quicker and cheaper.

Original Vineeth Joel Patel    Jun 01, 2017 12:00 PM PT
Shortcut in the Way Self-Driving Cars Are Tested Could Bring Them to the Road Quicker

Companies and automakers are all looking towards the future, mainly 2020, as the date to release autonomous cars. The major thing that's holding everyone back is getting self-driving cars tested. The automotive world may have the necessary hardware and software to put driverless vehicles on the road, but testing the cars and ensuring that they can operate properly alongside regular cars on the road takes a large amount of time. 

Automakers and tech companies are evaluating their self-driving vehicles over hundreds of thousands of miles. This process is not only lengthy, but also extremely expensive. But according to a report by Automotive News, a new shortcut could get driverless cars on the road sooner. 

Cut Costs And Reduce Times

According to mobility researchers at the University of Michigan, cites Automotive News, a shortcut could allow automakers to skip testing vehicles for millions of miles and save "99.9 percent in time and costs."

The report claims that Mcity researchers reviewed data from more than 25 million miles of real-world driving and developed a process where situations from real-life driving can be tested repeatedly. The process, as the report indicates, puts self-driving vehicles through a concentrated group of driving tests. 

The process, which is referred to as "accelerated evaluation," has researchers taking data from real-life driving situations and creating hundreds of thousands of various test situations, claims Automotive News. Putting driverless vehicles through all of the tests will help companies and automakers test autonomous cars safely, while getting them onto the road faster. 

By using this method, companies and automakers can cover between 300,000 to 100 million miles of real-world testing, while only covering 1,000 miles, claims the report. As Automotive News claims, the process "eliminates the many miles of uneventful driving activity to filter out only the potentially dangerous driving situations where an automated vehicle needs to respond." This makes testing much quicker. 

Quicker But Just As Extensive

While the process may be quicker, and more cost effective, it doesn't cut any corners. The researchers, Ding Zhao and Huei Peng, claim that true safety tests for self-driving cars must require them to "recognize and process variables of traffic and road conditions," reports Automotive News. To that end, the safety tests will also put autonomous cars through trials in different times of the day and ensure that regular drivers' unpredictable actions are included. 

As Automotive News reports, this new form of testing will streamline getting self-driving cars on the road, as companies and automakers that are looking to reach the benchmark of 80 percent confidence that driverless vehicles are 90 percent safer than regular human drivers will need to travel 11 billion miles. 

That's insane, as the outlet claims that just reaching 2 million miles in an urban environment would take approximately 10 years and cost millions of dollars. The new testing process, then, would ensure that driverless cars are safer than regular cars on the road, while making this easier and cheaper for tech companies and automakers. 

via: Automotive News

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