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Development of a remotely controllable vehicle to be used in safety testing of automated vehicles under realistic conditions

Despite the use of new methods such as simulation for testing the safety of automated vehicles, traditional road tests under realistic driving conditions are still essential. Using cutting-edge technologies, TÜV SÜD has developed a vehicle with high-precision remote control, which can be used on the test track to put autonomous driving vehicles through their paces in exactly defined and precisely reproducible scenarios.

Development of a remotely controllable vehicle to be used in safety testing of automated vehicles under realistic conditionsThe development of autonomous driving is advancing steadily. Even today, advanced driver assistance functions can temporarily take over some of the human driver’s control functions. Therefore, it is more important to ensure the safety of automated vehicles on the roads. In addition to virtual simulation, which enables many different critical scenarios to be tested, the safety of driver assistance systems and highly automated vehicles must be tested under environmental conditions that are as realistic as possible. This includes the replay of road traffic situations on test tracks. In this context, enormous technical effort goes into meeting the strict requirements for the tests concerning driving dynamics, positional accuracy, reproducibility, and analysis of results. At the current state of the art, only expensive and complex driving robots are able to fulfil these precision requirements. TÜV SÜD pursued a new approach to cope with this challenge by developing a vehicle with high precision remote control for use in simulating driving environments, and examined the suitability of this solution in trial operation. The remotely controllable vehicle enables critical scenarios to be replayed precisely on the test track, which, in turn, allows the test experts to verify that the test vehicle responds correctly in this type of critical situation.

TÜV SÜD used a KIA SOUL as remotely controllable (trajectory guided) vehicle for simulating traffic environment. Given the KIA's relatively convenient price and global availability and the simple, highly portable technology which turns the car into a test vehicle, the solution can be used quickly and cost-effectively on many international test tracks, making the KIA suitable to operate as traffic simulation vehicle.

The solution was developed jointly with partners Polysync and Kempten Technical University of Applied Science and is mainly supported by open-source software and conventional, commercially available hardware components. The vehicle is controlled by on-board actuators, eliminating the need for expensive features such as external steering, brake robots and gas pedal robots. In this context, TÜV SÜD's experts took care to ensure that the trajectory guided vehicle can drive safely in trial operation and does not record any faults in on-board electronics. The vehicle fulfils precision specifications for complex critical test-field scenarios regarding longitudinal and transverse travel.

One of the main goals of the TÜV SÜD development team was to ensure that all vehicles of this type can be rapidly transformed into a test vehicle. Robert Matawa, Head of Test Department Autonomous Driving, says, “In principle, within 30 minutes we can transform the KIA SOUL into a complex remote-controlled traffic simulation vehicle.”

A unique tool chain is thus created by combining this technology with high-precision measurement and positioning instruments plus a high-performance communication network which allows all vehicles in the test to be localized and controlled. The system developed by TÜV SÜD offers a modern test method that fits the complex requirements of homologation and approval of advanced driver assistance systems and highly automated vehicles.

For further information, please contact our expert , Head of Test Department Autonomous Driving.

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