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  • Writer's pictureSafer Highways

Autonomous vehicle safety standard concept enables tests needed to be road ready

An Operational Design Domain (ODD) is fundamental to Connected Autonomous Vehicle safety, however defining an ODD hasn’t been done before, until now, thanks to the work undertaken by German standardisation body ASAM and lead researchers from WMG, University of Warwick.

An Operational Design Domain Definition (ODD) describes specific operating conditions in which the automated driving system is designed to properly operate. It specifies what operating parameters the CAV must be able to manage, for example, weather conditions, infrastructure, location, time of day and everything else that can have an impact on the driving situation. The ODD is thus an important part of the safety concept of a vehicle and must be valid throughout its entire service life for a particular configuration of the CAV.

ASAM, a German standardisation body have been working with WMG, University of Warwick and other international experts to publish a new international standard concept, to develop a language for defining ODDs. They have successfully created a concept for machine-interpretable format to represent the ODD specification. The concept paper can be downloaded free of charge. Additional use cases or requirements can still be proposed before the standard development starts.

Th new format concept enables governments and the automotive industry to access ODD descriptions that are exchangeable, comparable, and processable.

An application example of the effective use of ASAM OpenODD is as follows: A city describes the ODD for its downtown area in the ASAM OpenODD format and makes it available to automotive manufacturers. The manufacturers can then use these descriptions to easily match their vehicles with the defined ODD to find out if their vehicles are allowed to drive in the respective downtown area. They can also use the descriptions to map their scenario test catalogue to the requirements of the ODD. The registration authorities have the benefit of defining ODDs that they can use to check autonomous vehicles. They can also be used to support the development of the ADAS and AD systems, as the use of the ODD can define the testcases that are necessary to validate the vehicle. There can be obvious limitations, for example, if the vehicle is not capable of speeds above 50 km/h highway tests are not necessary. This application of an ODD helps to focus the limited validation resources on the really needed scenarios.

Dr Siddartha Khastgir, from WMG, University of Warwick and project lead for ASAM Open ODD Concept project comments:

“Operational Design Domain definition is key to creating a safe automated vehicle. However, how is an ODD defined hasn’t been officially deemed, until now, as the ASAM OpenODD concept has provided the language to define an ODD.

“This means that going forward CAV manufacturers can define and exchange ODD definitions and authorities can have a common understanding of the ODD definition. I am grateful to all international experts who have contributed to this work. Achieving safety of automated driving needs to be a collaborative effort and ASAM OpenODD is an example of this.”

Peter Voss, Managing Director, ASAM E.V. comments:

"ASAM OpenODD will be a standard that will not only contribute to the safety of automated vehicles, but more importantly, will help to implement automated driving functions faster,".

In addition to the format and syntax, the concept for ASAM OpenODD also takes into account attributes (leveraging ISO 34503), metrics and the representation of uncertainties. The future standard will be compatible with all other standards of the ASAM OpenX family, particularly with OpenDRIVE, OpenSCENARIO and OpenXOntology.

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