Methodological toolkit for evaluating future driving functions

Modern vehicles already offer a high number of driver assistance systems (DAS). In addition, manufacturers (OEMs) are able to connect individual vehicle systems with each other more and more intelligently. But which new driving function offers specific added value for the end customer and is compatible with the respective brand values? consulting4drive (C4D) and IAV offer a methodological toolkit for evaluating the added value of automated driving functions, even in the early stages of development.

With a methodological toolkit for the early real-world testing of ideas for automated driving functions, the management and strategy consultancy consulting4drive and IAV support manufacturers in the further development of their vehicles. In this way, automated driving functions can be prototypically adapted to the desired customer requirements during testing and their actual added value for the respective target group can be verified prior to series development. This enables OEMs to compete in the intra-industry race for new driver assistance systems while at the same time reducing the risk of costly developments that do not match the brand or customer needs.

Re-prioritizing customer needs through design thinking

At the beginning, it is necessary to analyze the manufacturer’s goals: How can the best possible customer added value be generated? OEMs must find answers to this question – the experts from IAV and consulting4drive provide support with the help of relevant market studies, analyses of target markets, customer preferences and legal regulations in order to specify the scope of validation and uncover relevant customer requirements.

In the subsequent operationalization, a functional matrix is created: What can the individual driving functions and sensors already do today and what should they do in the future? The resulting matrix supplements the market view with the OEM potential of the driving functions.

«We combine function modules of the system, for example trigger conditions and function calls for anticipated customer added value, especially for the focal points of comfort and safety.»

Dr. Sebastian Kahlbau — Manager Technology Strategy at consulting4drive

We then check the actual benefit of the new functionality in suitable test situations with test persons and expand the V-model to include the customer experience,” says Dr. Sebastian Kahlbau, Manager Technology Strategy at consulting4drive.

The function matrix is used to check which new combinations are technically feasible for the objective in relevant use cases. “Here, for example, we examine a combination of individual functions such as emergency brake, lane departure warning system and cloud functions. We implement the resulting use cases in existing vehicle architectures at short notice,” says Paul Prescher, Team Manager Active Safety at IAV.

Testing new driving functions on the test track

In order to test the added value in practice without risk, each individual use case can be tested in several countries with different target groups on one test site. While the test persons drive their cars over the test track, an augmented reality system (vehicle-in-the-loop) projects the previously defined scenarios into the vehicle. The newly combined automated driving functions behave as if the simulated objects and vehicles were present in the immediate vicinity of the test car. The test persons’ impressions in the vehicle are evaluated qualitatively and quantitatively by consulting4drive and IAV. “Vehicle-inthe- loop offers the possibility of experiencing any complex and risky driving situations directly, reproducibly and safely by the driver,” says Roland Kallweit, Head of AD Functions & Simulation at IAV.

These results are used as the basis for validating or falsifying the tests and reflecting them in the OEM’s strategic planning.

«With this method kit, C4D and IAV create a symbiosis that dovetails the focal points of strategy and management consulting with engineering expertise.»

Michael Junger — President, consulting4drive

„Design Thinking in concept development and the validation of new, interconnected functions as well as a fast implementation in the prototype, for example as a Minimal Valuable Product, is very agile and successful,” emphasizes Michael Junger, President of consulting4drive.

Methodological toolbox for the targeted innovation of driving functions

These short tests of the use cases provide OEMs with a well-founded opinion about the actual customer added value of new automated driving functions. “By quickly deciding on the right innovation features, a much more efficient use of existing development resources can be ensured. We use the methodology to check relevant topics from the function matrix in fast motion for added value for the customer and the influence on the strategic OEM core brand values,” explains Björn Siemon, Senior Consultant, Technology Strategy at consulting4drive. With the new methodology, the two partners consulting4drive and IAV can accelerate the rapid real validation of new automated driving functions and reduce the risk of handing over a feature that is only useful in theory to series development without customer benefit.

The article was published in automotion 03/2020, the automotive engineering magazine of IAV. Here you can order the automotion free of charge.

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