Generating Probabilistic Safety Guarantees for Neural Network Controllers

1 Mar 2021  ·  Sydney M. Katz, Kyle D. Julian, Christopher A. Strong, Mykel J. Kochenderfer ·

Neural networks serve as effective controllers in a variety of complex settings due to their ability to represent expressive policies. The complex nature of neural networks, however, makes their output difficult to verify and predict, which limits their use in safety-critical applications. While simulations provide insight into the performance of neural network controllers, they are not enough to guarantee that the controller will perform safely in all scenarios. To address this problem, recent work has focused on formal methods to verify properties of neural network outputs. For neural network controllers, we can use a dynamics model to determine the output properties that must hold for the controller to operate safely. In this work, we develop a method to use the results from neural network verification tools to provide probabilistic safety guarantees on a neural network controller. We develop an adaptive verification approach to efficiently generate an overapproximation of the neural network policy. Next, we modify the traditional formulation of Markov decision process (MDP) model checking to provide guarantees on the overapproximated policy given a stochastic dynamics model. Finally, we incorporate techniques in state abstraction to reduce overapproximation error during the model checking process. We show that our method is able to generate meaningful probabilistic safety guarantees for aircraft collision avoidance neural networks that are loosely inspired by Airborne Collision Avoidance System X (ACAS X), a family of collision avoidance systems that formulates the problem as a partially observable Markov decision process (POMDP).

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