Most people are familiar with concepts like management debt and technical debt. Think of a college engineering team that hacks together a demo for a contest on a weekend — but still has an enormous amount of work to do on that demo before it can become a viable product. That work amounts to technical debt.
Self-driving development has given rise to a similar concept I call safety debt. It happens when developers are building self-driving systems with new capabilities without completing disciplined safety- engineering processes. At some point in the future, the developers will need to validate those capabilities through the functional safety process we discussed earlier. The teams that have built a large number of functions that are demo-able, but not safe, are actually further behind teams that have focused on deploying fewer, safer, functions.