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WMG academic helps identify the frameworks for the Government to enrol Autonomous Vehicles

When it comes to Autonomous Vehicles the question on everyone’s lips is when will they be on the roads? However for them to be safely deployed there must be a policy framework.

SiddarthaIn the report, ‘Safe Drive Initiative: SafeDI Scenario-Based AV Policy Framework - an overview for policymakers, published by the World Economic Forum, Dr Siddartha Khastgir from WMG, University of Warwick as part of the Technical Working Group of the Safe Drive Initiative, contributed to the technological aspects of the policy framework building on his UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship research outcomes.

In order to measure driving safely in the AV sector there are many challenges, especially how to evaluate the safety of AVs. In this report, the Forum along with industry, government and academic experts have developed guidance and tools to create a useful, practicable governance approach for safety assurance of AVs, based on how it behaves in the context of its operating environment, known as its Operational Design Domain (ODD).

The Safe Drive Initiative seeks to establish a high-level framework to enable regulators and AV developers to work collaboratively to demonstrate an AV system’s capability to operate without intervention from a driver. The initiative proposes a data-driven, scenario based assessment using a graduated approach to safety assurance. The framework’s approach is vehicle and solution-agnostic and builds upon existing national and international standards, where possible. The approach focusses on assessing AV in the context of its deployment ODD by demonstrating behaviour competence in a range of scenarios and covers using simulation, driving in controlled environments and naturalistic on-road driving for evaluation. This can then be adopted by a regulator or government entities, which are responsible for managing AV development and deployment.

The report has highlighted numerous points of testing that all bodies should follow, including:

1. Prepare - Convene necessary stakeholders to identify interim milestones as a function of the deployment ODD which can be defined using standard taxonomies e.g. BSI PAS 1883

2. Define - Specify qualitative scenarios for the interim milestones as behaviour competencies in each ODD sub-set

3. Measure – Using a scenario database (e.g. SafetyPool, UK’s National CAV Test Scenario Database), select scenarios based on ODD for simulation and corresponding success criteria

4. Execute – Conduct on-road tests and perform on going monitoring to evaluate scenario exposure to refine evaluation

The graduated approach enables defining interim milestones as a function of deployment ODD. After completing all steps of the assessment regulators should have a clear idea of which AV developers are ready to operate commercially in the deployment operational design domain. Ideally, the AV developer should demonstrate the vehicle’s capability to operate without a safety driver, but this depends on back-up on mechanisms such as minimal risk manoeuvres and remote operators to take control should they meet a rare situation it is not designed to handle, for example if an emergency vehicle is approaching.

Dr Siddartha Khastgir, from WMG, University of Warwick comments:

“Although this framework is for all regulators who want to implement an operational safety assessment within their jurisdiction, not one-size will fit all, different towns and cities all over the world will have different concerns based on their respective Operational Design Domains, and therefore each step should be customised for each community. Defining the interim milestones and qualitative scenarios as a function of deployment ODD, enables this framework to be used by wide variety of stakeholders like manufacturers, governments, local-authorities etc.

“We do however hope that this framework will help us see the safe development and deployment of CAVs, so that in the future we can see the benefits of safe, clean and inclusive mobility. WMG are already researching this in many ways, as we are leading the Midlands Future Mobility testbed, which sees autonomous vehicles being tested on real worlds, and have the facilities, such as the 3xD simulator to test AVs before they go on real world tests.”

Tim Dawkins from the World Economic Forum comments:

“By bringing together a multi-stakeholder community of industry, academia, safety organizations and regulators, we’ve developed a pro-active approach which will enables policymakers to structure a safety evaluation for AVs which reflects the challenges of their roads, and expects a common standard of safety across different types of vehicle. Partnering with research institutions like WMG is essential to building the knowledge base to empower regulators for success.”

11 NOVEMBER 2020


High-res images available at:

- 3xD Simulator:

- Dr Siddartha Khastgir:

Report available to view at:

More details about Siddartha’s UKRI Future Leadership can be seen at:



A TEDx talk by Siddartha can also be seen at:

Autonomous Vehicles, Featured, Showcase

Autonomous Vehicle safety standards to be set by Warwick academic

Siddartha Khastgir, Head of Verification and Validation, Intelligent Vehicles at WMG. UKRI Future Leaders Fellow.

Autonomous Vehicles safety will be tested by researchers at WMG, University of Warwick – thanks to a seven year UKRI Future Leader Fellowship awarded to Dr Siddartha Khastgir, worth £1.2m.

Connected autonomous vehicle technology prototypes have existed for some time, however questions around the safety of this technology from the public and industry who want to commercialise these technologies has blocked it from developing.

The future with CAV has to be more reliable, more efficient and less risky. So safety testing is essential to informing people’s opinion about this new technology.

In order to prove that CAVs are safer than human drivers, it’s been suggested they need to be driven for more than 11 billion miles. However, instead of the number of miles, it more important to focus on the experiences of the CAV in those miles to identify any smart miles which expose failures in CAV.

Dr Khastgir’s fellowship will therefore develop pioneering testing methodologies and international standards to enable robust and safe use of CAV, particularly focusing on creating both fundamental knowledge and applied research methods and tools.

WMG, University of Warwick, has created a concept of the “evaluation continuum” for CAV, which involves using various environment like digital world, simulated environment, test track testing and real-world for testing.

There are two aspects which are common to each of the evaluation continuum environments and also the focus areas of the fellowship research

1) Test Scenarios: exposing failures of the CAV

2) Safety Evidence: establishing how safe is safe enough?

As a part of this fellowship, three approaches will be explored to identify the smart miles which expose any CAV failures including:

· Using Machine Learning (ML) based methods including Bayesian Optimisation to create test cases for test scenarios

· Safety Of The Intended Functionality (SOTIF) (Innovative safety analysis of CAV) based test scenarios using Systems Theoretic Process Process Analysis (STPA)

· Translating real-world data into executable test scenarios for a simulation tool.

All these approaches will together contribute to the creation of a UK’s National CAV Test Scenario Database. Dr Khastgir has previously written about enabling British CAV deployment and the role of standards for the BSI (British Standards Institute), and hopes to build on the Fellowship research outcomes to build standards for national and international purposes.

Dr Siddartha Khastgir, from WMG, University of Warwick comments:

“The global Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAV) industry is estimated to be worth over £50bn by 2035, with the UK CAV industry comprising over £3billion of this, however questions around safety are always raised, by the automotive industry and the public.

“This hinders the process of commercialising CAVs, however my UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship to research the safety of CAVs can help Department for Transport, the automotive industry and the public to be reassured that they are safer than human drivers.

“I am incredibly grateful for the UKRI Future Leader Fellowship, as it puts the UK and the University at the forefront for research and development into the safety of CAVs.”

Margot James, Executive Chair at WMG, University of Warwick adds:

“WMG is very proud that Dr Siddartha Khastgir has been awarded a prestigious UKRI Future Leaders Fellowship (FLF). Through Siddartha’s research we can enable the UK to become a world leader in safe CAV deployment.”

Kirsty Grainger, Director, Future Leaders Fellowship Scheme adds:

“Dr Siddartha Khastgir is taking forward a really exciting project that supports the government’s Future of Mobility grand challenge. Through the Future Leaders Fellowships we’re not only delivering cutting edge research like this, but also investing in the individuals who have the potential be leading researchers and innovators in years to come. I am delighted that Dr Khastgir is part of the programme.”

Tuesday, 22 September 2020
Autonomous Vehicles, Featured, Showcase