The Office of the Secretary of Defense (OSD) has turned to the Energid Technologies Corporation to develop a digital simulation for safety testing of autonomous military convoys.
The autonomous vehicles are designed to aid “material transportation and human transit,” according to a release.
Driverless road vehicles are guided by control software that converts sensed data into steering and power commands. Because a moving vehicle poses potential danger to people and property, safety must be ensured before the control software can be used in most real-world environments.
Energid said that one of the dangers of proving the autonomous vehicles’ safety is the threat of “rare events,” which makes the required testing “both expensive and time consuming.”
To address this problem, Energid’s method is to apply autonomy algorithms to simulated vehicles in a way that actively seeks out problems. The approach combines randomized dynamic simulation with optimization for finding algorithmic failures. By finding safety problems early at reduced cost, autonomous convoys will be fielded sooner.
… The vehicle simulation must accurately model sensors, as well as the interaction between vehicles and the environment. Energid’s software uses a novel architecture with powerful algorithms for simulating both sensor data and the dynamics of articulated bodies.
“Energid’s software will find those one-in-a-million events that rarely happen but have serious consequences when they do,” Energid Senior Engineer Ryan Penning said in a statement. “Understanding and removing these hazards is critical.”