Some traditional life tests result in no or very few failures by the end of test. In such cases, one approach is to do life testing at higher-than-usual stress conditions in order to obtain failures quickly. This paper discusses a k-level step-stress accelerated life test under type I progressive group-censoring with random removals. An exponential failure time distribution with mean life that is a log-linear function of stress and a cumulative exposure model are considered. We derive the maximum likelihood estimators of the model parameters and establish the asymptotic properties of the estimators. We investigate four selection criteria which enable us to obtain the optimum test plans. One is to minimize the asymptotic variance of the maximum likelihood estimator of the logarithm of the mean lifetime at use-condition, and the other three criteria are to maximize the determinant, trace and the smallest eigenvalue of Fisher's information matrix. Some numerical studies are discussed to illustrate the proposed criteria.
Journal of Statistical Planning and Inference 138(4), pp.817-826