Autonomous Vehicle (AV) simulation is broken. How do we fix it?


Hello Gazebo Community,

I’ve recently published an opinion piece on AV Simulation. The core message I’m conveying to the AV community is that we should not rely on game engine architectures as validated simulation tools.

Potential solutions that we have brainstormed which may be relevant to the robotics community are:

  • The AV simulation capability has to be properly designed, implemented, and tested just like any other piece of software. Additionally it must go through an extensive process of verification and validation to ensure the simulation can be trusted for the purpose of testing the AV software.

  • A real AV product, especially the software, must be designed so that it can be properly tested. Developers can’t make changes to the AV software so it works with the simulation, test that modified version in simulation, and then claim that the original version works in the real world.

  • Users of AV simulation must understand the limitations of the simulation so that they can use it appropriately. British statistician George E. P. Box famously once said, “All models are wrong, but some are useful.” Simulations are always wrong to some degree, therefore engineers must be able to justify why the inaccuracies are acceptable for specific use cases.

Welcome feedback, comments and/or conversation.


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