Building a Higher Standard: NVIDIA Selected to Contribute to Industry Safety Group

Autonomous vehicle development team to work with CLEPA, adding to leadership positions in ISO, SOTIF and ASAM.
by Justyna Zander

Safety is what drives us. It’s why we’re working with the automotive industry around the world to ensure automated vehicles meet the highest quality standards.

NVIDIA works with key international organizations that are formulating standards and regulations for automated vehicles. These include the International Organization for Standardization (ISO), the United Nations Economic Commission of Europe (UNECE), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and the Association for Standardization of Automation and Measuring Systems (ASAM).

In close coordination with multiple industry leaders, NVIDIA is also heading one of the European Association of Automotive Suppliers (CLEPA) expert groups on highly connected automated vehicles. This group, which consists of European automotive suppliers, contributes to the development of new UNECE assessment methods for automated vehicles.

All these organizations, which count major automakers, suppliers and startups as members, are critical in developing regulations and standards for autonomous vehicles.

NVIDIA has a rich history of simulation technologies and functional safety. Our autonomous vehicle team holds invaluable experience in automotive safety and engineering. And we’re open about how we apply these learnings — much of it is detailed in a comprehensive report submitted to NHTSA.

By participating in these groups, we’re able to share this expertise with the help of other industry participants and help ensure the best possible standards are put in place.

Virtual Validation

The industry is examining four main areas of validation: audit assessment, track testing, real world testing and virtual testing, or simulation. Simulation has become a powerful tool in automated vehicle development, and with platforms like NVIDIA DRIVE Constellation, manufacturers can put their technology through many miles of driving — including rare and hazardous scenarios — in a fraction of the time it would take to travel those distances in the real world.

This capability is especially valuable for validation and verification. Regulators can design specific tests for edge cases or other situations that are difficult to recreate in the real world without putting other road users in danger.

NVIDIA is also working with ASAM, a standardization organization based in Germany that includes experts from OEMs, tier-1s, tool vendors, engineering service providers and research institutes to update the language and testing standards for simulation testing.

Through the collaboration which includes 42 contributing member organizations, we’re defining an open standard for creating simulation scenarios, describe road topology representation, sensor models, world models, as well as the criteria and key performance indices for the industry to advance validation methods for autonomous vehicle deployment.

Functional Safety

Automated vehicles don’t just require new forms of validation, they also need updated standards for safety itself.

ISO 26262 is the functional safety standard for today’s vehicles. It covers the car’s hardware and low levels of software, defining specifications for parts to avoid causing failures. Automated vehicles, which rely on much higher levels of software and machine learning, require an entirely new way of thinking when it comes to functional safety.

To address this gap, the industry is developing a new standard, ISO 21448, known as Safety of the Intended Functionality (SOTIF). It seeks to avoid unreasonable risks that may occur, even if all of the vehicle components are operating correctly.

For example, if the deep neural networks operating in the vehicle misidentify a traffic sign or object in the road, it could create an unsafe situation even though the software has not malfunctioned.

Defining these conditions is complex, but through close collaboration, we can address this challenge, and by working together with the entire industry on these international standards, we can both share our experience and learn from others, building a strong foundation for the safe deployment of autonomous vehicles.