Automotive E-ssentials


Your regular update for technical and industry information

Your regular update for technical and industry information

Automated driving: A matter of centimetres

Test methods are currently being developed for the homologation of vehicles with autonomous driving functions. TÜV SÜD combines physical tests with new simulation methods so that all feasible traffic scenarios are mastered.

Driving scenarios on the test track are supplemented with virtual test methods for the approval of automated vehicles. The co-operation between TÜV SÜD Man sitting in a self-driving car, view on cockpitand the test track operator, AVL ZalaZONE, covers both.

At the live demo on the test track this year, precisely defined driving situations were mastered solely by the automated driving function of the test vehicle – without the intervention of a driver.

On the ZalaZONE test site, TÜV SÜD experts showed the physical test of a "cut-in scenarios”. The autonomous vehicle had to respond independently to the situation of a cutting-in vehicle. The autonomous driving function must identify the cutting-in vehicle and decelerate or brake accordingly. Only a safety driver, who can intervene, if necessary, is on board.

As an internationally operating testing organisation, TÜV SÜD plays a key role for topics around the safety, security and testing of autonomous vehicles. Through its co-operation with the test site operator ZalaZONE, TÜV SÜD is establishing the conditions required for the development and field testing of new test methods – with virtual methods leading the way. Because the test centre offers the possibility of seamlessly digitalising results from physical tests, in order to use them for the research into establishment and validation of virtual methods.

In general, virtual testing is becoming an essential part of the homologation of autonomous vehicles to ensure the overall safety. This is due to the increased complexity of various numbers of autonomous driving functions. Traditional physical testing is not able to cover all potential scenarios anymore. Therefore, a combination of virtual and physical test methods is needed to overcome this new complexity. The main challenge is to ensure the trustworthiness of new virtual testing methods, especially the validation of the simulation models. Here at TÜV SÜD, we verify the reliability of the used testing software as well as the simulation-based homologation process. Our experts participate in various working groups and research projects like VVM (Validation and Verification Methods) to establish suitable methods for future virtual testing.

Safe test methods are rated high and first and foremost, the acceptance of new technologies in vehicles – which also applies to automated driving functions – constitute the requirement for acceptance of these technologies in society.

The test site in the Hungarian town of Zalaegerszeg plays an important role: With ZalaZONE, TÜV SÜD now has the operator of one of the largest and most modern test sites on board. The partnership complements the TÜV SÜD portfolio for type approvals in all relevant markets to include efficient access to one of the worldwide leading test sites for HAD.

ZalaZONE operates one of the largest and most modern test tracks in Europe and is therefore the ideal partner for TÜV SÜD. The test track offers many testCooperation with ZalaZONE options, especially for automated driving – for example, a two-lane track on which, among other things, so-called cut-in tests can be run.

The development and validation of test methods are the key requirement for new standards. Internationally valid standards, in turn, provide the basis for continued and fastest possible closure of continuing regulatory loopholes. Apart from the physical tests on the test track, virtual scenarios and the simulation of all feasible driving situations play an increasingly important role. It makes sense to perform such virtual tests with a digital twin of the vehicle – it is much faster and enables safety-critical tests to be performed safely. In addition, it would not be possible to physically complete the many billions of test kilometres that would be necessary on the road on a test track. ZalaZONE has high-resolution digital maps of the test site as well as communication options in real time.

Success through co-operations

The co-operation also rates highly when it comes to the development and approval of vehicles with automated driving functions. The investments in the infrastructure and the technology necessary for the development of automated driving functions are enormous. These investments are so large that they can only be managed collectively by multiple stakeholders. Sooner or later, viable business models must be developed in order to recover the investments made. At the end, a functioning product must exist. In the next few years, we will see autonomous vehicles, however, in defined scenarios and in limited spaces.

En route to SAE level 4

Regulation for highly automated vehicles is slower than the technological development, but agreements on appropriate standards are now gathering pace. Many countries have already agreed to uniform regulations. For example, with UNECE R79 for automated steering equipment or UNECE R157 for an automated lane keeping system. With the planned autonomous vehicle approval and operation ordinance (AFGBV - “Autonome-Fahrzeuge-Genehmigungs- und Betriebsverordnung”), the relevant supplement to the German Autonomous Driving Act, EU law will be implemented in national law. EU 2022/1426, the first common basis for EU type approval of SAE Level 4 autonomous vehicles, has been published in August 2022.

Industry standards

In addition, industry standards have offered orientation for many years. They include, for example, ISO/SAE 21434 for cybersecurity or ISO 26262, on which the industry has based its software development since 2018. New standards, such as ISO 21448 (SOTIF) for functional safety, are in the starting blocks. In Germany, the so-called law on autonomous driving was passed in 2021, and since then it has formed the basic regulatory framework for car manufacturers, suppliers and operators. In February 2022, the German Bundestag passed the Autonomous Vehicle Approval and Operation Ordinance (AFGBV). It sets out the requirements in the law on autonomous driving in greater detail and explicitly requires virtual test methods.

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