Safe-D: Safety through Disruption

Sensor Degradation Detection Algorithm for Automated Driving Systems


The project will develop a sensor degradation detection algorithm for Automated Driving Systems (ADS). Sources of degraded sensor information include weather, cyberattacks (e.g., direct communication and passive false signage), and sensor malfunction. Incorrect information from a sensor could result in significant safety issues, such as leading the vehicle off the road or causing the vehicle to suddenly stop in the middle of an intersection. From the Virginia Tech Transportation Institute’s (VTTI’s) Naturalistic Driving Database (NDD), 1000 events related to sensor perception will be selected to establish baseline sensor performance. VTTI will then determine performance metrics using these events extracted from the NDD for comparison in simulation. A virtual framework will be used to test degraded sensor states and the response of the vehicle control systems to develop the detection algorithm. The framework will integrate the sensors models, environments, vehicle models, cyberattacks, and algorithms. Old Dominion University will develop the GPS model, which is a localization sensor, and collaborate with the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation (GCAPS) to develop the degradation detection algorithm. GCAPS will also create the virtual framework, develop the LiDAR and radar sensor models, and execute the simulations. The sensor degradation detection algorithm will aid ADS vehicles in decision-making by identifying degraded sensor performance.

Project Highlights

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Final Report

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EWD & T2 Products

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Research Investigators (PI*)

Christina Witcher (VTTI/VT)*
Kevin Kefauver (GCAPS)*
ChunSheng Xin (ODU)
Peng Jiang (ODU-Student)
Jonathan Darab (GCAPS)
Alex Hatchett (GCAPS)
Kenny Custer (GCAPS)
Stephen Young (GCAPS)
Cong Chen (GCAPS)
Steven Huggins (GCAPS)



Project Information

Start Date: 2021-04-01
End Date: 2022-08-31
Status: Active
Grant Number: 69A3551747115
Total Funding: $400,000
Source Organization: Safe-D National UTC
Project Number: VTTI-00-034

Safe-D Theme Areas

Automated Vehicles

Safe-D Application Areas

Risk Assessment
Driver Factors and Influences
Performance Measures
Planning for Safety

More Information

UTC Project Information Form

Sponsor Organization

Office of the Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology
University Transportation Centers Program
Department of Transportation
Washington, DC 20590 United States

Performing Organization

Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University
Virginia Tech Transportation Institute
3500 Transportation Research Plaza
Blacksburg, Virginia 24061