"The foundations for automated driving have been laid"
The foundation of autonomous driving has been laid and "this development phase can be considered the natural preliminary stage of autonomous driving," says Torben Pawellek of TU Braunshweig
We find a growing number of technical system components and functionality in today’s production chassis control and driver assistance systems, which open the way to automated driving. In your view, which technologies are the biggest drivers of this?
If we only consider technological aspects, we have to consider the development potential of both hardware and software. The basic requirement for innovative assistance functions, however, is the availability of information on driver, vehicle and driving environment, which depends on current andfuture development standards of production sensor systems and their interconnection.
In order to, for example, interpret a complex traffic situation in a robust and reliable way, driving environment and vehicle data are required first. In a second step, control strategies, e.g. for automated driving, can be derived. The continuous improvement of sensor or camera systems is therefore important.
Which automated driving functions do you think will have the greatest future potential, and where do the greatest challenges lie?
With regard to comfort-oriented assistance functions, it is those which are fully accepted by the driver and provide maximum benefit in everyday driving. In the near future, this could apply to a congestion assistant since mobility is expected to increase, with more commuter traffic or traffic jams on motorways.
The reasons for success, however, are in the nature of things: monotonous driving is boring for the drivers, or even tiring, and they would like to hand the task over. It is a big challenge for the development engineers to make the systems safe in terms of accident-free, automated driving. Furthermore, they also have to be customer-oriented in terms of performance and interaction with the driver in order to achieve optimum system reliability and, therefore, driver acceptance.
How important is the development of sensor technologies, and what does Car2X offer us in terms of automated driving?
As already mentioned above, the improvement of sensor technologies is particularly important. They can basically be used to monitor the immediate environment of the vehicle, e.g. radar or camera systems. Car2X functions allow for extended monitoring of the environment and communication and thus for a greater scope of new developments.
With regard to automated driving, there is an almost unlimited number of possibilities to drive the vehicle in a safe, predictive and customer-oriented way, e.g. traffic-optimized everyday driving or early braking in dangerous situations in particular using Car2Car or Car2Infrastructure communication.
The development stage and the availability of technologies in line with customer requirements determine the chances of success, which can generally be considered as high.
What opportunities are opening up, and how do we guarantee the highest level possible of client acceptance with regard to automated driving?
From a global perspective, automated driving has a lot of economic and ecological improvement potential. With regard to customer use, this ideally means a significant increase in driving comfort and safety if the customers are willing to pay for the product. In terms of system performance, failure must not occur and automated driving has to be transparent and as requested by the customers.
Legal constraints are also important for customer acceptance. Who is liable for damages? That’s one of the crucial questions that have to be answered since system malfunction is possible.
Considering all the prevailing conditions: Where do we stand today, and where will we stand in the future on the “Road to Automated Drive”?
With regard to the economic, political and social perception as well as development standards and common development trends, it is clear that the foundations for automated driving have already been laid and that this development phase can be considered as the natural preliminary stage of autonomous driving. Today’s experience and improvements will contribute to the overall development in the future.
Presented in association with the Autonomous Vehicles Summit