Delivering safety for their safety

On this November 11th, Veterans Day, we honor our beloved veterans and share our appreciation for those that served and continue to serve our country with honor and pride. Today we reflect on the many years that we have worked alongside our U.S. military to support the overall mission of advancing autonomous technologies that will modernize the military and keep our warfighters safe. We also take this opportunity to thank our Edge Case veterans including Phil Koopman, CTO, (U.S. Navy Submarine Force 1983–1987), and Eric Felix, Defense Account Manager, (U.S. …

Michael Wagner, CEO, Edge Case Research

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Self-driving cars will need to operate in an ever-changing world without the benefit of flexible, adaptive human drivers continuously overseeing their operation. No design team can foresee and plan for every potential safety risk — much less the changes that will occur in the environment over the months and years that a self-driving car operates — without taking a fresh approach to safety.

That’s where Edge Case Research comes in.

We enable our customers to assure the safety of autonomous systems for real world deployment in the face of complex, changing operational environments. We do that by developing products that deliver live safety cases backed by evidence to ensure that our customers can define and measure the safety of autonomous systems in the real world. …

Edge Case Research is working alongside the insurance industry to quantify risk

The “drivers of tomorrow” will likely be a dramatic change from what we experience on our roads today. Replacing hundreds of thousands of human drivers, the driver of the future may be hundreds of millions of lines of software code. In the future, software “drivers” will transport us to work, carry our families and friends to see each other, and safely deliver the goods we count on every day. …

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Autonomous mobility relies on cutting edge engineering and artificial intelligence to drive safely. Less than twenty years ago, many self-driving vehicles could travel no faster than a walking pace. Fast forward to today, and you’ll find self-driving developers like Uber ATG working hand in hand with organizations like Edge Case Research to co-develop safety practices that enable test platforms to comfortably navigate streets without human intervention. However, even with this progress, a great deal of work still lies ahead for the industry.

In 2019, Uber ATG published and open-sourced a first-of-its kind Safety Case Framework. A safety case, tailored from the safety case framework to achieve the goals of a program or product, includes a structured set of goals, argument, and evidence supporting the proposition that a self-driving car is acceptably safe for use in the real world. The use of a safety case does not mandate the use of any specific technology in creating the self-driving system. Safety cases are used in safety-critical applications such as aerospace, rail, nuclear, and even healthcare. But they also provide significant flexibility, which is critical for emerging autonomy technology. The flexibility of safety case argumentation allows work products from traditional functional safety standards to stand alongside claims about the safety of novel approaches such as deep learning. …

Michael Wagner, CEO, Edge Case Research, Inc. and Manuela Rasthofer, Managing Director of Edge Case Research GmbH

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In the future, autonomous mobility will transport us to work, carry our families and friends to see each other and deliver the goods we count on every day. Edge Case Research’s mission is to ensure that everyone stepping into a self-driving car gets a safe ride and that every autonomous vehicle traveling through our neighborhoods is built safely from the ground up.

Edge Case began six years ago in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, in many ways the birthplace of the autonomous vehicle industry. Since we began, however, autonomous driving became a global endeavor in which Germany plays a leading role. Beyond merely being a powerhouse in automotive manufacturing, Germany has profoundly deep expertise in all key autonomy technologies and a regulatory environment focused on safety. …

Philip Koopman and Michael Wagner, Edge Case Research

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Self-driving cars promise improved road safety. But every publicized incident chips away at confidence in the industry’s ability to deliver on this promise, with zero-crash nirvana nowhere in sight. We need a way to balance long term promise vs. near term risk when deciding that this technology is ready for deployment. A “positive trust balance” approach provides a framework for making a responsible deployment decision by combining testing, engineering rigor, operational feedback, and transparent safety culture.


Too often, discussions about why the public should believe a particular self-driving car platform is well designed center around number of miles driven. Simply measuring the number of miles driven has a host of problems, such as distinguishing “easy” from “hard” miles and ensuring that miles driven are representative of real world operations. That aside, accumulating billions of road miles to demonstrate approximate parity to human drivers is an infeasible testing goal. Simulation helps, but still leaves unresolved questions about including enough edge cases that pose problems for deployment at scale. …

By: Dr. Phil Koopman, Co-Founder & CTO, Edge Case Research

This article gives an overview of the current status of the Draft UL 4600 standard that describes a safety case approach to ensuring autonomous product safety in general, and self-driving cars in particular. Information is current as of June 2019.

NOTE: The author is a principal technical contributor to the current draft standard text. This article is the personal viewpoint of the author. While intended to generally reflect the current trajectory of draft standard UL 4600, that draft is subject to change as it undergoes the UL consensus process. This article is presented in the spirit of transparency and inclusion of the greater stakeholder community during the initial drafting process. …

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Mike Wagner, Co-Founder, and CEO (left) and Prof. Phil Koopman, Co-Founder and CTO (right)

By: Mike Wagner, Edge Case Research, Co-Founder and CEO

Safety is the foundation on which our autonomous future will be built. We have to trust that the automation we’re handing our car keys to, that flies our planes, and that diagnoses our diseases will keep us safe. Yet as fleets of autonomous vehicles expand into cities across the world, there remains uncertainty around whether the public can trust the safety of this emerging technology. As we watched autonomy emerge from university research labs onto the roads, skies, and hospitals, we realized we had an amazing opportunity to make autonomy safer and worthy of our trust. …

By: Michael Wagner, CEO & Philip Koopman, CTO, Edge Case Research

Edge Case Research is proud to provide technical expert leadership for
UL 4600, “Standard for Safety for the Evaluation of Autonomous Products.” The standard is intended to cover the entire scope of software and computer-based system safety for fully autonomous self-driving cars (e.g., SAE Level 4 vehicles) as well as some other types of autonomous products. A draft standard will be available to a technical review panel in Spring 2019, with publication expected by the end of 2019.

The standard addresses the need for novel technical and safety standard approaches to accommodate autonomy. This includes dealing with AI technology such as machine learning, as well as helping to ensure the safety of vehicles that do not have a driver to handle unusual situations and equipment failures. It will also fulfill a need for a non-prescriptive, goal-based approach to ensuring an appropriate level of safety across the entire vehicle lifecycle regardless of the vehicle design approach. …


Edge Case Research

We Deliver the Promise of Autonomy. Founded by global leaders in safety and autonomy who build safety into autonomous systems from the ground up.

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