Autonomous Vehicles That Include Risk in Their Decision Making
The promise of transportation automation seems to become more and more fulfilled each day. Today’s automobiles that keep themselves in their lane and maintain safe speeds and distances—even in stop-and-go traffic—have recently been joined by successful tests of flying delivery drones. However, increasing automation levels eventually requires a vehicle to be able not only to control its own maneuvering and detect other vehicles and obstacles, but also to predict what other vehicles could be expected to do as well as to be able to plan and react to other vehicle’s unexpected maneuvering.
Professor Brian Williams, MIT’s Bisplinghoff Professor of Aeronautics and Astronautics, recently spoke as part of the U.S. DOT Volpe Center’s Our New Mobility Future speaker series. His research concentrates on the creation of long-lived autonomous systems that are able to explore, command, and diagnose and repair themselves using fast, online reasoning. Referred to as model-based autonomy, Prof. Williams’ focus is on risk-aware systems whose actions operate within user-specified risk tolerances.