AdvSim: Generating Safety-Critical Scenarios for Self-Driving Vehicles


As self-driving systems become better, simulating scenarios where the autonomy stack is likely to fail becomes of key importance. Traditionally, those scenarios are generated for a few scenes with respect to the planning module that takes ground-truth actor states as input. This does not scale and cannot identify all possible autonomy failures, such as perception failures due to occlusion. In this paper, we propose AdvSim, an adversarial framework to generate safety-critical scenarios for any LiDAR-based autonomy system. Given an initial traffic scenario, AdvSim modifies the actors' trajectories in a physically plausible manner and updates the LiDAR sensor data to create realistic observations of the perturbed world. Importantly, by simulating directly from sensor data, we obtain adversarial scenarios that are safety-critical for the full autonomy stack. Our experiments show that our approach is general and can identify thousands of semantically meaningful safety-critical scenarios for a wide range of modern self-driving systems. Furthermore, we show that the robustness and safety of these autonomy systems can be further improved by training them with scenarios generated by AdvSim.