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Permit for Operating Autonomous Vehicles on Public Roads

Functional safety closes the regulatory gap for prototype approval

What is a prototype approval for automated vehicles?

In order to test automated vehicles (AV) according to SAE L3 automation (and higher) on public roads, vehicle manufacturers, suppliers and mobility providers, require approval from authorities. But in many countries like Germany, USA and China, approval for SAE L3+ automation for public roads is only possible with a special permit. To obtain the permit AV participants must provide a sound safety and cybersecurity concept and prove that the vehicle will not compromise road safety.

Why is an AV permit important?

By obtaining an approval for your automated vehicle prototypes you gain various benefits:

  • Ensure you are legally permitted to test your automated vehicle in public

  • Develop key AV technology which can be tested on real road conditions

  • Validate the overall performance, safety and security of your developed automation functions thoroughly

  • Create an overall safety concept to achieve a smooth roll-out of your automated technologies

TÜV SÜD helps you to obtain your AV prototype approval

As one of the leading experts in the field of automated driving, TÜV SÜD enables you to obtain permits by supporting you in the development of a safety and cybersecurity concept, or by validating your current one. We have successfully applied our approach to a variety of automated mobility solutions, most of which have already been approved by authorities for use on public roads. Our AV permit applies to single prototype vehicles, like automated bus shuttles, prototype fleets or mobility services and are always adapted to your individual needs.

Our support builds on state-of-the-art safety standards such as ISO 26262, and goes beyond standards by considering SOTIF, cybersecurity and fail operational systems through a holistic safety and security evaluation. We introduce functional safety as the new ingredient in the approval process as well as the cybersecurity, for which we developed an assessment method specifically tailored for automated vehicles.

Our officially recognised TÜV SÜD experts assess key elements of the vehicle’s functional safety and cybersecurity, in addition to traditional inspection aspects. If changes to the vehicle are made after the approval is completed, only the updates require an additional permit, rather than the entire vehicle. This offers you an efficient process when further developing your automated vehicles.

Universal approach for the assessment of AVs operational safety

TÜV SÜD’s services for automated vehicle prototype approval

TÜV SÜD supports you to obtain approval for public road testing of autonomous vehicles, prototypes and experimental vehicles by providing the following services:

  • Technical advice

    Our global experts provide you with insights into the AV approval process and help you to understand the relevance of single vehicle approval and type approval. Furthermore, we support you in selecting the right regulation for your approval needs.

  • Preparation of documents

    We assist you in preparing relevant documents for the approval application. In addition, an overall check ensures that documentation is complete.

  • Safety concept, Cybersecurity concept and test catalogue

    We provide you with insights about our inspection procedure. This includes reviewing the existing threat and hazard analysis, safety and security concept, design review and test catalogue, to ensure sufficient functional safety and cybersecurity of the prototype.

  • Checklist of requirements

    We clearly document in the checklist that the safety and cybersecurity functions are fulfilled by your prototype.

  • AV permit

    Based on the results and the fulfilled safety and cybersecurity requirements, we provide a technical report which evaluates the AVs road-worthiness form a safety and cybersecurity point of view.


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