Automated driving will fundamentally change road-vehicle approval methods, concluded the participants at the “Homologation” conference organised jointly by TÜV SÜD Auto Service and TÜV SÜD Academy. In December 2017, 140 experts from industry, regulatory bodies and research institutes spent two days discussing how technological progress will change road-vehicle homologation. Other topics addressed at the conference included international approval procedures in countries such as the Russian Federation and China, and the approval of agricultural vehicles.
The control units of an automated vehicle encompass roughly one hundred million lines of software code. “That is ten times more than in a Boeing 747 and one hundred times more than a space shuttle”, said Alexander Kraus, Senior Vice President TÜV SÜD Auto Service GmbH, in his welcoming speech. In view of this enormous scale, virtual testing and simulation are becoming increasingly important. Kraus emphasised the importance of looking at the whole vehicle first and only assessing the individual components in the next step.
Several technical talks addressed possible approaches. One idea, for example, envisages computerising the entire approval procedure. The experts refer to this method as “virtual homologation based on virtual vehicles”. However, the development of this method is still in its absolute infancy, explained Dr Houssem Abdellatif, TÜV SÜD Auto Service GmbH.
Compared to this, the changes in the approval of agricultural and two-wheeled vehicles, which became effective on 1 January, are relatively down to earth. However, in view of the small volumes and numerous variants involved, they nevertheless cause major efforts for manufacturers. The new rules are also significant because the agricultural industry has already embraced autonomous harvesters and is thus a pioneer in autonomous driving – albeit on non-public terrain.
The steadily growing number of component type approvals further challenges the industry by causing increasing efforts. While a passenger car requires around 150 of these ECE approvals, the number is far higher for commercial vehicles and their numerous variants. Every approval includes manufacturer certificates, which can expire or cause problems based on formalities – for example, if the address of the company headquarters differs from that of the production site. According to many conference participants, the exchange of information on these issues offers major benefits in practice. At the conference, held at TÜV SÜD’s Munich premises, the experts discussed these topics in specialist workshops. An additional special course held in the mornings offered newcomers insights into these topics.
The experts have unanimously welcomed the internationalisation and harmonisation of approval regulations for years. However, national regulations in individual countries may present further obstacles. Experts well acquainted with the approval methods in the Russian Federation and the associated Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) updated the plenum on the relevant regulations and advised on how to deal with approval in practice.
The “Homologation” conference, organised annually by TÜV SÜD Auto Service GmbH and TÜV SÜD Academy, is regarded as the leading event of its kind in German-speaking countries.
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