Learning Autonomous Vehicle Safety Concepts from Demonstrations


Evaluating the safety of an autonomous vehicle (AV) depends on the behavior of surrounding agents which can be heavily influenced by factors such as environmental context and informally-defined driving etiquette. A key challenge is in determining a minimum set of assumptions on what constitutes reasonable foreseeable behaviors of other road users for the development of AV safety models and techniques. In this paper, we propose a data-driven AV safety design methodology that first learns ‘‘reasonable’’ behavioral assumptions from data, and then synthesizes an AV safety concept using these learned behavioral assumptions. We borrow techniques from control theory, namely high order control barrier functions and Hamilton-Jacobi reachability, to provide inductive bias to aid interpretability, verifiability, and tractability of our approach. In our experiments, we learn an AV safety concept using demonstrations collected from a highway traffic-weaving scenario, compare our learned concept to existing baselines, and showcase its efficacy in evaluating real-world driving logs.