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Arizona to Create Mobility Safety Center

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Arizona plans to set up a facility to vet the safety of self-driving-car systems and develop techniques to investigate crashes that involve such vehicles, Automotive News reports.

The Institute for Automated Mobility will be a partnership of government, academia and the private sector. One of its primary missions will be to translate human expectations about vehicle safety into protocols that guide decision-making by robotic vehicles.

Intel Corp., a founding corporate sponsor of the alliance, notes that there currently is no clear definition about exactly what “safety” means for automated vehicles. The institute will seek answers by applying the “responsibility sensitive safety” model articulated a year ago by Intel’s Mobileye imaging systems subsidiary.

The Mobileye model helps developers write software algorithms that, for example, make sure an autonomous vehicle maintains enough room to stop safety or take evasive action if a vehicle ahead suddenly brakes.

Backers say that the institute’s focus on quantifying “safety”—and determining what went wrong if an autonomous vehicle crashes—will set the center apart from other U.S. autonomy test facilities. AN says the Arizona facility will enable developers to test and analyze scenarios that would be too dangerous to assess on public roads.

Financial details about the alliance haven’t been disclosed. Nor has a site been selected for the institute’s planned 2.1-mile test track. Developers say the complex will house a first-of-its-kind Traffic Incident Management Center, which will develop guidelines and procedures for assessing crashes that involve self-driving.