Virtual Risk Assessment for the Deployment of Autonomous Shuttles.

Patrick Weissensteiner, Georg Stettinger, Karin Trieber, Karl Rehrl (2021): Virtual Risk Assessment for the Deployment of Autonomous Shuttles. In: Transportation Research Record: Journal of the Transportation Research Board.

In recent years, trials of autonomous shuttle vehicles have been conducted worldwide. Currently, there exists no generalized process model for deployment and continuous operation of shuttles. Shuttle suppliers use their own developed procedures, making it difficult for the relevant stakeholders (e.g., public authorities) to assess the risk of potential shuttle deployment. The Digibus® Austria flagship project, among other goals, develops an approach for the virtual risk assessment of identified critical spots along proposed shuttle paths. Embedded into the deployment process, this serves as a significant body of evidence for safety assurance in shuttle deployment. Conducted simulation studies optimizing the shuttle’s trajectory for concrete maneuvers, along with derived requirements for the associated virtual environment, are part of the first noteworthy outcomes. Concretely, the developed virtual environment is integrated in the framework used for virtual validation. The framework is then used for a detailed evaluation of a right-turn maneuver, analyzing possible shuttle trajectories. Considerable differences in sensor coverage at the shuttle’s stopping point can be shown. Conclusively, by utilizing the shuttle’s restricted operational domain, the proposed virtual risk assessment is considered the first step toward a general procedure for the safety assurance of automated vehicles.

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