Increasing the Safety of Adaptive Cruise Control Using Physics-Guided Reinforcement Learning

Jurj, Sorin Liviu and Grundt, Dominik and Werner, Tino and Borchers, Philipp and Rothemann, Karina and Möhlmann, Eike
This paper presents a novel approach for improving the safety of vehicles equipped with Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) by making use of Machine Learning (ML) and physical knowledge. More exactly, we train a Soft Actor-Critic (SAC) Reinforcement Learning (RL) algorithm that makes use of physical knowledge such as the jam-avoiding distance in order to automatically adjust the ideal longitudinal distance between the ego- and leading-vehicle, resulting in a safer solution. In our use case, the experimental results indicate that the physics-guided (PG) RL approach is better at avoiding collisions at any selected deceleration level and any fleet size when compared to a pure RL approach, proving that a physics-informed ML approach is more reliable when developing safe and efficient Artificial Intelligence (AI) components in autonomous vehicles (AVs).