Torc Robotics, TNO collaborate on vehicle autonomy

By Becky Schultz15 November 2022

TNO and Torc Robotics will work together to substantiate the safety of self-driving trucks using scenario-based safety validation. (Photo: Torc Robotics)

The Netherlands Organization for Applied Scientific Research (TNO), a Dutch research organization, announced it will work together with Torc Robotics to substantiate the safety of self-driving trucks using scenario-based safety validation. The strategic collaboration will include use of TNO’s StreetWise, a data-driven, safety validation methodology based on a real-world scenario database offering a large collection of “driving events.”

StreetWise was developed in TNO’s program to make traffic more efficient, sustainable and safer. It provides real-world scenarios and test cases – identified from driving data collected from various fleets of data collection vehicles – for the development and assessment of Level 4 driving systems through automated analysis of driving data. The methodology is designed to test and validate autonomous driving systems’ performance according to the latest safety requirements. It allows for building a collective scenario database among specific industry partners who make their data available without exchanging sensitive driving data between the partners.

Torc, an independent subsidiary of Daimler Truck, is using StreetWise as a tool in its validation pipeline to analyze its real-world drive data. The TNO and Torc collaboration includes the implementation and upscaling of the StreetWise software in TORC’s fleet operation.

Torc Robotics is using StreetWise as a tool in its validation pipeline to analyze its real-world drive data. Shown is a Level 4 autonomous truck on a highway in Albuquerque, N.M. (Photo: Torc Robotics)

“Torc has 17 years of experience in pioneering safety-critical self-driving applications, and our technology is designed with safety as the priority. We take the driving behavior of the safest, most experienced drivers on the road as our role model,” said Axel Gern, senior vice president of engineering and managing director for Torc Europe. “The StreetWise methodology offers the foundation for safety assessment. In addition, our shared beliefs regarding traffic safety ensure that TNO understands our needs and can provide the support to implement and scale up this methodology.”

Torc will use the StreetWise software to process fleet records daily and provide development engineers with traffic understanding. From the database parameters, substantial statistics will be derived, with the original scenarios kept classified. The resulting information will enable Torc to apply thorough, virtual validation according to international safety assessment processes.

“Autonomous transport plays an essential role in TNO’s mission towards more efficient, sustainable and safer traffic and transport. The new safety challenges require legislation and standardization within the industry,” said Olaf Op den Camp, safety assessment specialist, TNO. “We are very pleased that Torc will be the first to operationalize our methodology, bringing adoption and standardization in the field of safety validation one step closer.”

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