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AUTONOMOUS VEHICLES


❱❱ Robust testing enables Mercedes to take autonomy to the roads of Germany


Making sense of ADAS A


s vehicles become more connected and aware, with an expectation that they will react to their surroundings and eventually drive themselves,


the automotive industry is facing an increasing challenge of ensuring its test regimes are robust enough to account for the escalating number of variables such sensor proliferation represents - including the human behind the wheel.


DRIVER ASSISTANCE ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) are already commonplace and industry bodies want them to become the norm for all new vehicles on the road. New car assessment bodies such as Euro NCAP are building ADAS into their roadmaps of future safety requirements that will become mandatory in order to achieve the coveted 5-star assessment rating. One such system, Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) has been part of the test used by Euro NCAP since 2014. The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) has had Electronic Stability Control (ESC) as a mandatory requirement since 2011 and AEB since 2013. According to the ANCAP requirements, without ESC, any car built since 2016 won’t even achieve a 1-star


2 /// DAQ, Sensors & Instrumentation 2017


rating, such is the importance of the technology. Most people who own a fairly modern car will already be familiar with ESC and AEB without necessarily understanding the complexity of the sensor technology behind them and in the very near future, other ADAS equipment will become similarly commonplace and similarly expected as standard. Such systems include adaptive cruise control, blind spot elimination, lane keeping assist and automatic parking, all of which rely heavily on the reliable combination of multiple sensor systems.


FROM ADAS TO AUTONOMY As sensors proliferate and ADAS becomes “joined up”, the possibility exists of the car taking more of the decision making and control tasks away from the driver; that’s the dream. However, the reality demands far more complexity than anything that connected ADAS could possibly offer and the major car manufacturers are in a frantic battle to be the first to offer something that is truly autonomous. Amongst the leaders in developing autonomous vehicles are Volvo, Ford and Mercedes-Benz, each of which has access to rich infrastructure testing resources. Ford has the University of Michigan


Mobile Transformation Centre, Volvo has Gothenburg city council on its side and Mercedes has similar Government cooperation for the use of public infrastructure for testing. For 2017, Mercedes has received permission from Stuttgart regional council to perform driverless vehicle testing on its roads. Such decisions aren’t made trivially and the granting of permission to use public roads was based on the outcome of testing that the German car giant had been making since 2011 and which resulted in the latest software platform for autonomous control, DAVOS (Daimler Autonomous Vehicle Operating System). This powerful software employs high power graphic processing units and deep learning technology, the purpose of which is to make sense of all the inputs from cameras, Radar, LiDAR, IR and other sensors and make robust decisions from them.


COPING WITH COMPLEXITY As complexity increases, the possible outcomes of sensor condition combinations, failure modes and driver responses increase alarmingly and there is a heightened burden on the designers and test engineers to predict the way


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