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Siddartha Khastgir NEW.


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• To identify test scenarios and test cases for evaluating CAV to identify which are the smart miles (i.e., situations where CAV fail) using various analysis methods including machine learning (ML) based methods like Bayesian Optimisation, SOTIF (Safety Of The Intended Functionality) analysis and real-world data annotation

• To develop a National CAV Test scenario catalogue which will help coordinate research activity with various CR&D projects

• To create a Scenario Description Language for common understanding of scenarios

• To generate knowledge to enable test scenario selection for test environments (digital world, simulated environment, test tracks and real world)

• To generate knowledge of how to claim safety for ML-based systems

• To develop a methodology for safety argumentation of CAV using simulation-based and real-world based safety evidence

• Disseminate research findings to society

• Inform the policy and legislative frameworks for the UK on testing, evaluation and deployment of autonomous vehicles

• Incorporate the learning from the research into all levels of engineering education


The inaugural UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme will receive £900 million over the next 11 years, with six funding competitions and 550 fellows set to be awarded. It will help to establish the careers of world-class research and innovation leaders across UK business and academia, providing a boost to the pipeline of talent needed for the future. The scheme supports early career researchers and innovators with outstanding potential in universities, UK registered businesses and research-focused environments such as research councils' institutes and laboratories. The support will enable each fellow to tackle ambitious and challenging research.

Academic or business hosts will benefit from funding of up to £1.2 million over a four-year period. The programme will also provide hosts with an opportunity to attract and retain the most talented individuals (UK or international) to their organisation.


The global Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) industry is estimated to be worth over £50billion (by 2035), with the UK CAV industry projections being over £3billion. Additionally, the UK Government's Industrial Strategy aims to bring fully autonomous cars without a human operator on the UK roads by 2021, one of the first countries in the world to achieve this. However, in order to realise this vision and the market potential, safe introduction of CAV is necessary, requiring significant research to overcome diverse barriers associated with public deployment of CAV.

The overall vision for Siddartha Khastgir's UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship is to support positioning the UK as the world leader in CAV research and innovation for long lasting societal and economic benefits. The Fellowship aims to solve some of the most pressing challenges that stand in the way of successful adoption of CAV. The Fellowship proposal is to create a novel evaluation continuum for CAV.


Fellowship Brief

While prototype CAV technologies have existed for some time now, ensuring the safety level of these technologies has proven to be a hindrance to commercialisation of CAV. It is suggested that, in order to prove that CAV are safer than human drivers, they will need to be driven for more than 11 billion miles, an unfeasible proposition. Furthermore, industry trends in CAV suggest the widespread adoption of Machine Learning (ML) in the autonomous control systems. ML-systems are non-deterministic in nature, resulting in different behaviours and a lack of transparency around the CAV system. Therefore, it is often difficult to identify reasons for a particular failure in such ML-based systems and take the corrective measures.

Siddartha's UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF) programme will develop pioneering testing standards to enable robust and safe use of CAV with a focus on creating fundamental knowledge as well as research methods and tools. With safety as an underlying theme, Siddartha's FLF will focus on testing scenarios and environments using simulation, and creating evidence to prove CAV and ML-based systems are safe.

As the UK's representative on various international standards committees, Siddartha will aim to help position the UK as a world leader in CAV research and innovation, for a long lasting societal and economic benefit, whilst also creating a world leading team of researchers in CAV evaluation at WMG. The programme's research outputs will provide a clear route to deliver impact through the development of international standards.


UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship

“Globally, 1.25 million people die on the roads due to road accidents, and it’s said that 90% of these accidents are due to driver error. So if we could assist the driver or remove the driver, there is a way to reduce this fatality number.”


UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship