DSA 2023 Keynote Speech 1

Testing Autonomous Driving Functions – Current Research,
Challenges, and Limitations


There has always been interest in providing fully autonomous cars that bring us from one place to another without paying attention to the traffic. In recent years, tremendous effort has been spent in bringing this vision into reality. However, safety is a major concern to enable widespread use on roads. In my talk, I use different examples to show the challenges of safety assurance that need to be considered when developing the right safety measures. Afterward, I present a testing methodology utilizing environmental ontologies combined with combinatorial and search-based testing and the first experimental results obtained when applying this methodology to 2 autonomous emergency braking functions. The presented methodology relies on the idea of detecting critical scenarios, i.e., interactions between the system under test and its environment that leads to unwanted behavior. Hence, instead of focusing on the system and its specification and requirements for test case generation, the approach considers the system’s environment. Furthermore, I discuss the limitations of testing in the context of autonomous driving and argue the need for runtime verification for checking regulations and other rules during operation. Finally, I summarize the findings and present directions for future research activities.


Franz Wotawa avatar
Professor Franz Wotawa Austria

Professor and Head
Institute of Software Technology
Graz University of Technology, Austria

Franz Wotawa received an M.Sc. in Computer Science (1994) and a Ph.D. (1996) from the Vienna University of Technology. He is currently a professor of software engineering at the Graz University of Technology. From the founding of the Institute for Software Technology in 2003 to 2009, and starting in 2020, Franz Wotawa has been the head of the institute. His research interests include model-based and qualitative reasoning, theorem proving, mobile robots, verification and validation, and software testing and debugging. Besides theoretical foundations, he has always wanted to close the gap between research and practice. For this purpose, he founded Softnet Austria in 2006, a non-profit organization conducting applied research projects with companies. Since October 2017, Franz Wotawa has been the head of the Christian Doppler Laboratory for Quality Assurance Methodologies for Autonomous Cyber-Physical Systems. Franz Wotawa has written more than 440 peer-reviewed papers for journals, books, conferences, and workshops during his career. He supervised 102 Master’s and 39 Ph.D. students. He received the Lifetime Achievement Award of the Intl for his work on diagnosis. Diagnosis Community in 2016. Franz Wotawa has been a member of various program committees and organized several workshops and special issues of journals. He is a member of the Academia Europaea, the IEEE Computer Society, ACM, the Austrian Computer Society (OCG), the Austrian Society for Artificial Intelligence, and a Senior Member of the AAAI.