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DiffScene: Diffusion-Based Safety-Critical Scenario Generation for Autonomous Vehicles
Chejian Xu · Ding Zhao · Alberto Sngiovanni Vincentelli · Bo Li
Event URL: https://openreview.net/forum?id=hclEbdHida »

The field of Autonomous Driving (AD) has witnessed significant progress in recent years. Among the various challenges faced, the safety evaluation of autonomous vehicles (AVs) stands out as a critical concern. Traditional evaluation methods are both costly and inefficient, often requiring extensive driving mileage in order to encounter rare safety-critical scenarios, which are distributed on the long tail of the complex real-world driving landscape. In this paper, we propose a unified approach, Diffusion-Based Safety-Critical Scenario Generation (DiffScene), to generate high-quality safety-critical scenarios which are both realistic and safety-critical for efficient AV evaluation. In particular, we propose a diffusion-based generation framework, leveraging the power of approximating the distribution of low-density spaces for diffusion models. We design several adversarial optimization objectives to guide the diffusion generation under predefined adversarial budgets. These objectives, such as safety-based objective, functionality-based objective, and constraint-based objective, ensure the generation of safety-critical scenarios while adhering to specific constraints. Extensive experimentation has been conducted to validate the efficacy of our approach. Compared with 6 SOTA baselines, DiffScene generates scenarios that are (1) more safety-critical under 3 metrics, (2) more realistic under 5 distance functions, and (3) more transferable to different AV algorithms. In addition, we demonstrate that training AV algorithms with scenarios generated by DiffScene leads to significantly higher performance in terms of the safety-critical metrics compared to baselines. These findings highlight the potential of DiffScene in addressing the challenges of AV safety evaluation, paving the way for more efficient and effective AV development.

Author Information

Chejian Xu (University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign)
Ding Zhao (Carnegie Mellon University)
Alberto Sngiovanni Vincentelli (University of California, Berkeley)
Bo Li (UIUC)
Bo Li

Dr. Bo Li is an assistant professor in the Department of Computer Science at the University of Illinois at Urbana–Champaign. She is the recipient of the IJCAI Computers and Thought Award, Alfred P. Sloan Research Fellowship, AI’s 10 to Watch, NSF CAREER Award, MIT Technology Review TR-35 Award, Dean's Award for Excellence in Research, C.W. Gear Outstanding Junior Faculty Award, Intel Rising Star award, Symantec Research Labs Fellowship, Rising Star Award, Research Awards from Tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook, Intel, IBM, and eBay, and best paper awards at several top machine learning and security conferences. Her research focuses on both theoretical and practical aspects of trustworthy machine learning, which is at the intersection of machine learning, security, privacy, and game theory. She has designed several scalable frameworks for trustworthy machine learning and privacy-preserving data publishing. Her work has been featured by major publications and media outlets such as Nature, Wired, Fortune, and New York Times.

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