From assisted to autonomous driving: new functions according to SAE Level 3 will go into series production in the coming years. With initial test fleets, OEMs and suppliers are already gathering experience at Level 4 and Level 5. IAV has been researching sensor technology, function development and algorithms for more than 20 years – and has already proven its expertise in numerous series production and research projects.
Our cars are becoming increasingly intelligent: interconnected driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions ensure greater road safety and efficiency, and they also increase the range of electric vehicles. If the intelligent assistants are supplemented by interconnectivity with the surrounding infrastructure, vehicles can ride the green wave, contribute to optimized traffic flow or bridge the last mile to public transport. This is what smart mobility looks like.
We are a strong engineering partner for connected automated driving and cover the full range of development activities in this field. To this end, IAV employs more than 700 experts in connected automated and autonomous driving. They have first-class equipment and their own test site at their disposal, and can also draw on our broad range of expertise for the entire vehicle.
In the development of autonomous driving functions, we rely on current methods such as extensive simulations, test automation and artificial intelligence (AI), and build on our series production experience and systems expertise that is recognized in the industry: IAV masters all development steps up to the final system release recommendation. Close cooperation with universities and partners guarantees that we are always at the cutting edge of technology. With our eye for detail and the whole system, we have already successfully completed many projects with OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers.
Driver assistance on the road to autonomous driving
We develop all functions for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) – from the idea to series production. And we integrate them reliably and efficiently into every vehicle environment. Many of these systems are already being used in vehicles today, but the requirements placed on them are constantly increasing, for example as a result of the European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). In addition, there are always new advancements such as the combination of ACC and lane departure warning – this makes it possible to both brake and evade in complex situations.
This requires more sensors as well as new, more complex functions. To be able to develop such advanced ADAS solutions, our experts from the various subject areas work closely together. In doing so, they increasingly rely on the simulation of new functions. Early in the development process, they can use the “concept-in-the-loop” approach to quickly evaluate sensors, actuators and functions, thereby reducing development time and costs. We also gain a better understanding of functions and systems by combining different methods.
Virtual function development
Virtual function development also enables shorter development cycles. With its help, we can develop even complex systems within a short time and are thus ideally positioned for all future requirements. For virtual fraction development, we use current technologies such as Digital Twins (enabling rapid prototyping as well as development and testing without hardware) and artificial intelligence (to use information from all development stages in an automated way and increase the quality of the entire process chain). At all SAE levels, we consistently rely on automation, for example in test case generation and evaluation. In this way, we achieve optimal utilization of the SiL and HiL test benches (24/7) and increase the efficiency and speed of development. With our CoMPASS method (Comprehensive Model Based Predictive Analysis for Scenario Selection), we can generate automated test scenarios in a targeted manner, saving considerable time without compromising the informative value of the tests.
In practice, we test assisted driving functions at our proving ground in Altenburg. It is available around the clock seven days a week and, thanks to its long track of more than two kilometers, also allows tests at high speeds. The test site in Altenburg has an extensive test and measurement infrastructure, including dummies, steering robots and a mobile traffic signal system. Thanks to its own charging infrastructure, tests of electric vehicles are easily possible.
Interconnected autonomous driving is the future of mobility
In the coming years, it will initially be used in special areas such as logistics, as a people mover on the last mile or in Automated Valet Parking (AVP). In the long term, however, cars will also be driving autonomously on public roads. High levels of automation promise a completely new driving experience – but as the supreme discipline, they are also particularly demanding. Our experts make the associated complexity controllable and transfer new solutions safely into series production.
We offer our customers a complete software solution that is modular in design, covers all the essential sub-functions of autonomous driving and can be easily adapted to future requirements (for example, to new sensor technology or changed legal requirements). The sub-functions included, based on unique IAV know-how, include precise localization as well as overarching data fusion for environment recognition, whereby we can take into account both in-vehicle and external data – for example from the surrounding infrastructure or from the cloud. Part of our software solution is also embedded-proven Model Predictive Control (MPC), which regulates longitudinal and lateral guidance. Based on intelligent maneuver selection, trajectories are optimized predictively and vehicle actuation is controlled. In the process, MPC takes equal account of driving safety and comfort.
Our software solution
Our software solution has already proven its capabilities in numerous projects. For example, the HEAT (“Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation”) shuttle developed by IAV has been in practical use in Hamburg since 2019 and will be transporting passengers in regular service in 2021. Autonomous driving functions from IAV are also successfully in use in comparable projects in Berlin and Leipzig. In addition, we are already working with renowned customers on series solutions where, in addition to driving functions, we are also addressing topics such as DriveRecorder, remote control, central operations management and connecting the vehicle with the surrounding infrastructure or services from the cloud.
New mobility concepts
Autonomous driving functions will also enable completely new mobility concepts and business models in the future. This is why we are already in permanent exchange with transport companies as well as umbrella organizations and are advising them both technically and in terms of business management on the development of the entire system. The focus here is on both general trends in mobility and the specific technical requirements for services based on highly automated driving (for example, equipping control centers or diagnostics for regular service). We are also involved in standardization bodies such as the Car2Car Communication Consortium (Car2CarCC), C-Roads, ETSI and SAE. We also advise cities and municipalities. After all, they benefit particularly from intelligent transportation systems – through more efficient traffic, higher air quality, and fewer accidents and traffic jams.
Intelligent mobility spaces
Even autonomously driving vehicles will never be able to operate entirely without the support of the infrastructure surrounding them. For example, in many cases, cameras alone are not capable of reliably assigning traffic signals to a lane. Variable message signs on highways with additional information or for individual lanes also pose major challenges for the vehicle’s own sensor technology. In such situations, interconnected traffic infrastructure can support autonomous driving functions and provide additional information for greater safety.
This is why the traffic of the future will be highly interconnected and will connect all road users and infrastructures to form Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS). Vehicle2X communication (V2X), for example, will make it possible to avoid accidents and optimize traffic flows. However, this requires not only vehicle manufacturers but also infrastructure operators and traffic technology manufacturers to work closely together. Thanks to our decades of experience with automated driving functions, we are the ideal bridge builder between the various domains. We have proven this, for example, in the HEAT project.
Expertise in ITS
In addition to function development, our expertise in ITS also includes system development and integration, algorithm development, application, component responsibility, antenna and EMC development, vehicle design, function, system and vehicle testing as well as V2X standardization and committee activities.
Our developers can draw on an extensive ITS infrastructure in their work – for example, V2X and HAD test vehicles, mobile intelligent infrastructure units, V2X plug-and-play systems, V2X simulation tools, IAV’s Scene Suite simulation tool for driver assistance systems and an EMC measurement chamber.
For IAV, driver assistance systems and autonomous driving are not new topics: We started ACC research as early as 1995, realized a first vehicle according to SAE Level 2+ in 2003 and demonstrated fully automated driving according to Level 4 in 2017. Another highlight was the development of the Renault SYMBIOZ: Together with the French automaker, we developed the architecture and system for Level 4 in the demonstration vehicle. Since 2019, the automated driving minibus HEAT (“Hamburg Electric Autonomous Transportation”) developed by IAV has been on the road on a route in Hamburg’s HafenCity. In 2021, it will be one of the showcase projects there as part of the ITS World Congress.