Driverless Needs Pan Auto Industry Agreement, Says German Project

A German project to standardize autonomous vehicle testing is claiming the technology can never be widely adopted without agreement between the whole automotive industry and regulators.

The Pegasus project is a four-year €34M national initiative to establish industry-wide quality standards and test procedures for automated vehicle functions and features 17 partners including Audi, BMW, Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Opel, TÜV SÜD, Volkswagen and now the UK’s test system supplier AB Dynamics.

Current testing sees TÜV SÜD applying a Kia Niro fitted with AB Dynamics’s PolySync Drive Kit for “by-wire” control but it is claimed the concept can also be used with a range of other cars, for example the Kia Soul or Chrysler Pacifica. In order to accelerate the safe introduction of autonomous vehicles and systems, the project, part-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy, has the objective to define standardized test procedures, develop a flexible and continuous tool chain, and create a common method of safeguarding highly automated driving functions.

Yet, the processes will be worthless without across-the-board agreement by all the players in the auto industry and regulators considering the introduction of driverless technology, said Robert Matawa, lead engineer testing and certification HAD, TÜV SÜD. He said: “Proving the safety and reliability of automated and autonomous systems before they are permitted to share road space with the public remains a major challenge facing the automotive industry. While the technical building blocks for autonomous control exist, the task of training a self-learning system to cope with the complexity of the real world requires new methods and approaches. The standards to which a vehicle would be certified, and even the test procedures to demonstrate compliance, have yet to be developed and agreed upon.”

“Effective safety approval for automated vehicle functions would demand unlimited time and resources unless we develop new methods and tools,” concludes Matawa. “The Pegasus project aims to provide these by creating a database of relevant scenarios from multiple sources, and a common, complete tool chain with which to process it.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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