Automotive E-ssentials

Automotive E-ssentials

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Digitalisation in homologation on the rise

New or updated rules and regulations result in increasing requirements for the processes for approving new vehicle models. This creates major challenges for authorities, technical service providers, test organisations and not least the industry. Many experts see a solution to the time problem in the digitisation of processes - for example, by means of machine-readable documents - and new IT services.

Digitalisation in homologation, cars on highwayAutomated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS), Intelligent Speed Assistants (ISA), Advanced Emergency Braking System (AEBS) – these are just a few examples of systems that have to be installed in new vehicle types step by step, but within a few years. Binding regulations of the UNECE (UN Economic Commission for Europe) and the General Safety Regulation (GSR) of the EU sometimes become effective very quickly, so that the approval authorities such as the Federal Motor Transport Authority in Germany (KBA) and the technical services such as TÜV SÜD are highly stretched to test and approve the systems. In individual cases the additional administrative regulations are not yet in place – for example, for driver drowsiness detection.

However, the need for safety and security are the main reasons for many of the new systems that will have to be installed in vehicles in future. The implementation of digitalisation in the type approval can be an appropriate measure to tackle the increasing dynamics and complexity of homologation. This topic was discussed by experts at the last homologation conference, and the harmonisation of data files into formats that are easier for machines to process, such as XML, was repeatedly mentioned here as a measure to be taken. There is also a need for innovative IT solutions. For example, a so-called “digital twin” of regulations could be created, to provide developers and experts an overview of regulatory changes in an automated way. This would simplify the process of comparing regulations and thus save time and effort. This is because, a large part of the revisions in the regulations are due to changes in the existing ones.

Euro 7 – more than simply exhaust emissions

Apart from safety, legislators and committees continue to be motivated by climate and environmental protection. For example, the future Euro 7 will also more strictly regulate the so-called “non-engine emissions”. This includes less particulate matter from brake abrasion (discs and pads). Regenerative braking in electric cars is a helpful aspect in this respect. However, there is not yet a uniform path for the technical implementation. The technical services are jointly developing suitable test methods for this.

Facilitation of technical progress in production

Other topics are currently also discussed across experts. For example, how can improvements in the battery technology be incorporated in the production, without the manufacturer having to restart the entire homologation procedure? A similar situation applies to the use of new, more efficient functions, which are added via software updates.

Individual approvals with ramp-up difficulties

The assembly line is not always the place where cars and trucks are created. Special vehicles, of which only a few are maybe built, require individual vehicle approvals. Previously granted on a national level, approval for several vehicle classes has now been changed to an EU-wide procedure. This would actually be a major step forward for the industry if there would be no issues with recognition of this EU approval in several EU member states.

Despite all the challenges posed by new regulations, they also simplify certain aspects from time to time. For example, the current GSR 2 not only provides the possibility of approving autonomous vehicles, but it also clarifies that some systems are not even necessary in this context. An example here is that if there is no longer a driver, there is also no longer a need for drowsiness detection.

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