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As important as the development of autonomous driving technology is, So is the method of assessing the safety of autonomous driving

As the level of autonomous driving advances (Level 3+), so the autonomous driving function is gradually replacing the role of the driver. In the future, when Level 5 of fully autonomous driving is reached, the machine will replace all roles, which further emphasises safety evaluation and verification.

Development of autonomous driving technologyAt Level 1-2, which is categorised by the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the driver's attention is required and intervention is possible. So, even if an unexpected or dangerous situation occurs, the human being can avoid it by using their own judgement. However, simulation-based safety assessment is becoming increasingly important in vehicles with Level 3 or higher advanced autonomous driving capabilities. This is because, for physical tests of vehicles with advanced autonomous driving capabilities, it is impossible to take into account the large number of variables, no matter how much time, effort, technology, etc. is used during the development cycle.

This has also been demonstrated by studies where about six billion kilometres of mileage are required to prove that self-driving cars are as safe as their drivers. A realistic alternative to overcoming these physical limitations is simulation-based safety assessment, which is also being actively discussed in UNECE WP29 and elsewhere under the United Nations, and its scope of application is gradually expanding.

Research is also being carried out in Korea to evaluate safety through simulation, in particular through the research project "Automated Driving System Safety Evaluation Method Based on Simulation and Systematic approach". This was launched in April 2021 and Korea set out to establish standards, including procedures and methods for assessing safety.

In particular, TÜV SÜD’s research team is utilising the experience of several prior studies, in which we have been involved. This includes PEGASUS, VVM in Germany, and Singapore CETRAN, as well as the knowledge we possess through standardisation-related activities such as UNECE, ISO, IAMTS, etc.

Based on a methodology that is recognised worldwide, we are taking the lead in global standardisation through this study. For example, research activities at IAMTS, which TÜV SÜD chairs, are being adopted in practice through the UNECE VMAD.

In particular, the goal of the "Development of System Safety Evaluation Technology Based on Simulation of Real Vehicles" task is to configure the architecture that Level 4+ autonomous vehicles are expected to have in the near future, and to construct processes such as functional safety (ISO 26262) and Safety of Intended Functions (SOTIF) (ISO/PAS 21448) based on this. Functional safety is a widely established standard in the industry in relation to the Product Liability Act (PL), but the emerging SOTIF is becoming increasingly important with the development of autonomous driving technology.

In addition, TÜV SÜD is one of the top global Testing, Inspection and Certification (TIC) companies, and also performs related certification tasks. In particular, limited to the automotive industry, the company is working closely with the certification bodies of each country in the European region to obtain type approval.

Because of this network, we are not just testing the vehicle itself but we are also undertaking type approval work, through simulation. In addition, based on our knowledge and experience, the research will identify the direction in which to move forward, including type approval and audit procedures through simulation of autonomous vehicles. In particular, TÜV SÜD plans to assist the Korea Automobile Testing & Research Institute (KATRI), the research institute that is the host of this task, to play a positive and key role in the preparation of relevant legislation in Korea, which is adopting self-certification like the United States.

The direction that TÜV SÜD will present and propose as a result of our research is the direction in which international harmony is possible, and it is expected that through this goal we will be able to reduce the proportion of additional work. At present, if vehicles have been manufactured to comply with national laws in our country, it is necessary to also consider the various other regulations of the country to which a vehicle should be exported.

If we consider that the task of complying with national laws and the additional work for exports is 50/50 in such a situation, TÜV SÜD is aiming for at least 80/20 or 90/10 when it comes to autonomous driving technology. Our aim is to derive internationalisation-level research results so that additional work can be reduced if domestic laws are complied with.

In addition to this task, TÜV SÜD also participates in the task of “Development of Safety Assessment Technology of Driving and Collision Response for Level 4 Automated Vehicles" and has the research goal of proposing relevant legislation proposals through safety verification based on evaluation scenarios, the establishment of an evaluation environment, and the development of verification technology. In this task, we are participating in the scope of the development of Level 4/4+ autonomous vehicle target systems, the selection of the Operational Design Domain (ODD), and the evaluation scenario for the stability of autonomous vehicles.

Unlike the Level 3 system, the Level 4/4+ system, which is the research goal of the task, requires a variety of response strategies in normal and dangerous situations without switching control. Through the development of detailed scenarios and methodologies to verify this, we plan to develop stability evaluation technology for Level 4/4+ autonomous vehicles and prepare relevant legislation proposals.

The field of autonomous driving is also a technology that is expected to eventually fall within the boundaries of certification. Until that happens, the research will contribute to the global direction and standards content. Once we have come within the framework of certification, TÜV SÜD will strive to support its customers through various services such as technical advice, testing, certification, etc., so that they can sell their products without inconvenience.

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