This paper presents a method for testing the decision making systems of
autonomous vehicles. Our approach involves perturbing stochastic elements in
the vehicle’s environment until the vehicle is involved in a collision. Instead
of applying direct Monte Carlo sampling to find collision scenarios, we
formulate the problem as a Markov decision process and use reinforcement
learning algorithms to find the most likely failure scenarios. This paper
presents Monte Carlo Tree Search (MCTS) and Deep Reinforcement Learning (DRL)
solutions that can scale to large environments. We show that DRL can find more
likely failure scenarios than MCTS with fewer calls to the simulator. A
simulation scenario involving a vehicle approaching a crosswalk is used to
validate the framework. Our proposed approach is very general and can be easily
applied to other scenarios given the appropriate models of the vehicle and the
environment.

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