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Case Study: Verifying the Safety of an Autonomous Racing Car with a Neural Network Controller

Abstract

This paper describes a verification case study on an autonomous racing car with a neural network (NN) controller. Although several verification approaches have been recently proposed, they have only been evaluated on low-dimensional systems or systems with constrained environments. To explore the limits of existing approaches, we present a challenging benchmark in which the NN takes raw LiDAR measurements as input and outputs steering for the car. We train a dozen NNs using reinforcement learning (RL) and show that the state of the art in verification can handle systems with around 40 LiDAR rays. Furthermore, we perform real experiments to investigate the benefits and limitations of verification with respect to the sim2real gap, i.e., the difference between a system modeled and real performance. We identify cases, similar to the modeled environment, in which verification is strongly correlated with safe behavior. Finally, we illustrate LiDAR fault patterns that can be used to develop robust and safe RL algorithms.

Year of Publication
2020
Conference Name
23rd International Conference on Hybrid Systems: Computation and Control
Publisher
Association for Computing Machinery
Conference Location
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
DOI
10.1145/3365365.3382216