Aurora Safety Case Framework to Address the Safety of Both Autonomous Trucks and Passenger Vehicles
Updated: Apr 7
Aurora has released its initial version of the Aurora Safety Case Framework. The company describe it as the first self-driving safety case framework for autonomous trucks and passenger vehicles. They say the safety case-based approach is a defined way to evaluate when its vehicles are safe enough to operate on public roads and to assess that they are not creating an unreasonable risk to motor vehicle safety.
"A Safety Case Framework is the most effective and efficient path to safely pulling the safety driver and it's an imperative component for any company looking to operate without a safety driver and safely deliver commercial-ready self-driving vehicles at scale," said CEO and co-founder Chris Urmson. "It's something other self-driving companies should strongly consider using as they move towards commercialization."
The company says its "Safety Case Framework" captures critical elements for evaluating the safe development, testing, and operation of a self-driving vehicle on public roads. While a safety case-based approach is frequently used in various other safety-centric industries — including aviation, nuclear, medical, automotive, and oil and gas exploration and extraction — it is not yet the norm in the self-driving industry.
"Ultimately, a strong safety case-based approach should signal — to employees, partners, regulators, and the general public — that the product being put on the road is acceptably safe. We're publishing our Safety Case Framework as part of our commitment to transparency and collaboration, and because we believe that all AV companies need to work together to make our roads safer," said Aurora Vice President of Safety Nat Beuse.
Aurora, uses its Safety Case Framework to review and evaluate the Aurora Driver's performance and development against internal standards to ensure it's confident putting self-driving vehicles on the road both with and without a vehicle operator. Externally, it enables the company to effectively share its approach and progress with partners, customers, regulators, and the general public.
The company developed the Aurora Driver to learn from experience across multiple use cases from day one – large trucks moving goods on highways, passenger vehicles moving people on highways, or those vehicles moving goods and people on suburban and urban roads. Consistent with this common architecture of Aurora Driver's hardware and software, Aurora says it is the first company to publish the method for a company to determine its self-driving system. While the company tailors the framework for the specific vehicle platform and operating domain, this approach can enable the team to work from one set of transparent guidelines, ensuring Aurora can develop quickly and operate safely.
Aurora says instead of just focusing on safety for a final commercially deployed product, Aurora's Safety Case Framework is adaptable, with claims that support different aspects throughout the lifecycle of self-driving vehicle development, from testing to deployment. This means that Aurora will be able to adapt the safety case claims it has published today to different vehicle platforms, vehicles with an operator behind the wheel, and vehicles on testing tracks as well as public roads.