Published: Jan. 23, 2024 By

Associate Professor Majid Zamani was recently recognized by the European Research Council (ERC) for the second time through a Proof of Concept grant for his Advanced Collision Avoidance System (ACAS), which could give a formal guarantee of safety for autonomous vehicles. Learn more about his work and what this grant will help him achieve in this Q+A.

How does it feel to be recognized by the ERC twice now? 

I am honored and grateful to have been awarded both an ERC Starting Grant in the past and, more recently, an ERC Proof of Concept (PoC) Grant. This dual recognition underscores the potential impact and feasibility of my research focused on designing autonomous systems with an emphasis on guaranteeing their safety. I am genuinely excited about the opportunities these grants provide to contribute meaningfully to the design of autonomous systems. The ability to ensure their safety, utilizing tools from mathematics, computer science, and engineering, adds a critical dimension to my work. I look forward to leveraging these resources to advance the field and make significant contributions to the development of autonomous systems that prioritize both innovation and safety. 

What work does this grant allow you to fund specifically?

The primary objective of my ERC Proof of Concept project is to provide car manufacturers with a correct-by-design Advanced Collision Avoidance Systems (ACAS) that carries a guarantee of correctness. By adopting our ACAS solution, automotive companies can substantially decrease the volume of testing needed, achieving efficiency gains by several orders of magnitude. This will be accomplished through the establishment of a software development framework that automates the generation of ACAS control software and ensures the robustness and reliability of the generated control software. 

What are your hopes for this project overall?

I hope to see this project make significant contributions to the broader goals of enhancing road safety, reducing testing burdens for self-driving car companies, and ultimately promoting greater accessibility to innovative and robust ACAS technology within the automotive industry. Additionally, I expect that the project outcomes, including the release of high-quality software tools, will foster collaboration and knowledge-sharing within the research community, thereby accelerating advancements in the design of autonomous systems.

What is important for readers to know?

For readers to fully grasp the significance of my project on designing ACAS, it's crucial to understand that the primary focus is on incorporating a formal guarantee of safety into these systems. This means that the project is dedicated to ensuring a robust and reliable collision avoidance mechanism through a formalized approach. 

It's important to emphasize that the integration of formal guarantees distinguishes this project, elevating the safety standards of collision avoidance systems. Readers should be aware that this formalized approach not only enhances the effectiveness of the systems but also sets a new benchmark for safety assurance in autonomous technologies. 

Furthermore, readers should know that the outcomes of this project hold the potential to reshape safety standards in the automotive industry. The incorporation of formal guarantees is a pivotal step towards building trust in collision avoidance systems, fostering a safer environment for both drivers and pedestrians. Overall, the project is not just about innovation but about establishing a new paradigm in safety within the realm of autonomous systems.

Learn more about Zamani's grant.