By Chris Urmson
Today at the World Safety Summit, I laid out a four-part framework for how we as an industry should be thinking about safety. A version of my comments are below.
Since my DARPA days, I’ve seen a lot of what works, and what doesn’t. This includes everything from the technology itself, to building teams and cultures that allow us to tackle these incredibly complex challenges.
Our industry has also seen incredible advancements in computing, sensor technology, and deep learning techniques. These advancements have significantly changed how we are able to safely and efficiently build technology that is robust, reliable, and ultimately safer than a human driver.
But none of this matters if we don’t develop this technology safely. In our business, safety isn’t just a theoretical concept or a talking point we put on our website. We have human lives in our hands, and that’s something we should never forget.
How should we — the public, the industry, the government, and the media — think about safety?
At Aurora, our mission is to deliver the benefits of self-driving technology safely, quickly, and broadly. There’s a reason that safely comes first in our mission. Safety is at the core of all the work that we do. Given the depth of our experience in the space — in areas like artificial intelligence, robotics, and computer vision — we know that doing the hard, foundational work first is the best, and only, way to ensure the Aurora Driver is safer than a human driver. (For detailed information on our safety practices, here’s our Safety Report.)
Here’s a four-part framework for how we think about safety at Aurora and what we as an industry can do: