[SystemSafety] Nature article on driverless cars

Graydon, Patrick J. (LARC-D320) patrick.j.graydon at nasa.gov
Mon Apr 16 15:23:04 CEST 2018

> On 2018–04–16, at 07:49, Tom Ferrell <tom at faaconsulting.com> wrote:
> I have a lot of heartburn with this article, but I will pick on just one aspect.  A key part of the argument being made is that the automation needs to make its decision-making process transparent to the user 'in an understandable form.'  Sensor fusion on these vehicles is happening at a rate far beyond what a human operator could hope to understand and process even in a highly aggregated form.  Aside from the fact that the operator would be distracted by trying to take in this data even if presented in a HUD format, it would still remove them from the equivalent of the aviation 'see and avoid' scanning that every human driver is taught to accomplish (and would certainly count as a distraction).

Yes, making the driver /and other stakeholders/ aware of the machine’s ‘intent' without undue impact on situational awareness could be challenging. And yet, in some circumstances, this is absolutely necessary.  For example, suppose an automated vehicle is about to pull out onto a highway from a parking lot, crossing the trajectory of a pedestrian on a pavement/sidewalk. It isn’t enough that the driver is there to push on the brake pedal if the car starts to move into the pedestrian: the car will cover a <1m distance so quickly there is no time to react.  Either the driver or the pedestrian (or, preferably, both) need to know that the automation has ‘seen’ the pedestrian (unless we are simply going to write off dead/injured pedestrians as the cost of the technology).

— Pat

Dr. P. J. Graydon
NASA Langley Research Center
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