When a Safety Case is Not Enough

Mobility companies developing and deploying autonomous vehicles use Safety Cases to ensure the safe operation of their technologies. We can help.

March 11, 2024

Mobility companies involved in developing and deploying autonomous vehicles generally use Safety Cases to ensure the safe operation of their technologies. While specific practices may vary, many of these companies emphasize the importance of creating comprehensive Safety Cases to gain regulatory approval and build public trust.

What is a Safety Case? It's a comprehensive and structured document that outlines the safety arguments and evidence supporting the deployment of autonomous vehicles. Key components of a safety case may include detailed descriptions of the autonomous system's perception capabilities, decision-making algorithms, and control mechanisms. It also addresses how the system handles various scenarios, such as unexpected obstacles, adverse weather conditions, or hardware failures. The document provides evidence of extensive testing, simulations, and validation processes conducted to ensure the system's reliability and safety under diverse conditions.

While Safety Cases serve as a crucial step in ensuring the responsible deployment of autonomous vehicles, some aspects can improve. For instance, the absence of standardized guidelines across the industry can lead to inconsistency and ambiguity, as different companies may employ varying methodologies. There is also a relative lack of transparency, as their complexity makes it difficult for the general public to comprehend the arguments' intricacies. Lastly, unforeseen scenarios can challenge the effectiveness of safety measures, raising concerns about the technology's real-world adaptability. This results from insufficient real-world testing, as Safety Cases rely heavily on simulations and controlled testing environments.

How can Streetscope help? Streetscope's software platform calculates the hazard posed between observed pairs of traffic objects (cars, bikes, pedestrians, etc.), and its output is objective evidence that supports Safety Case argumentation. It's also evidence in the context of standards-based functional safety efforts, so it's useful throughout the lifecycle of a system under development and operations.

By effectively measuring non-collisions, Streetscope's platform is valuable from mile zero without the need to wait for collisions and all the misery they entail. It's also independent, providing a perfect base for comparing different systems (or companies), something increasingly seen as crucial when making the case to the public that automated systems are safe to deploy.

Feel free to get in touch if you want to learn more. Some of the most advanced AV developers in the USA have already done it.


Image by Gencraft

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