Safety in driverless cars is a topic that concerns experts and the public alike. It has long been clear that billions of test kilometers are no longer enough to test the new technologies for their functional safety and reliability. Roads and traffic are therefore increasingly moving to laboratories and digital twins, i.e., the most complete possible computer images of the real infrastructure, which are used to conduct intensive research into methods of ensuring safety for connected and automated driving. "How safe is safe enough?" is therefore also the topic of the German-Japanese symposium safeCAD-DJ 22, which will take place from June 1 to 3 in Berlin-Adlershof and will be hosted by the Thuringian Center of Innovation in Mobility (ThIMo) at the TU Ilmenau together with the DLR Institute of Transportation Systems Technology.
The safeguarding of connected and automated driving functions, known in technical jargon as "verification and validation," is one of four topic areas that the German and Japanese governments agreed to jointly research five years ago. The binational cooperation is intended to enable faster progress in the automation of passenger and freight transport, which is a very high priority for both nations in view of the changes in climate, demographics and mobility. Since October 2020, five globally active German industrial companies - AVL, Blickfeld, Continental, IPG and Mercedes-Benz - together with research partners KIT - Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Kempten University of Applied Sciences, TU Darmstadt and DLR Institute of Transportation Systems Engineering, have been conducting research on reliable and efficient test procedures for autonomous vehicles in the VIVID project "German Japan Joint Virtual Validation Methodology for Intelligent Driving Systems" under the leadership of ThiIMo head Professor Dr. Matthias Hein. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research for three years with a volume of around EUR 4.7 million. The Japanese sister project "Driving Intelligence Validation Platform - DIVP" brings together thirteen major Japanese industrial partners under the leadership of Professor Dr. Hideo Inoue, Professor of Vehicle Systems Engineering at the Kanagawa Institute of Technology and Fellow of the Toyota Motor Corporation, including automotive manufacturers such as Toyota, Honda and Nissan or suppliers such as Sony, Hitachi and Pioneer.
For the first time since the global Corona pandemic, scientists can now meet in person to share their research findings and make future plans for the global harmonization and standardization of safeguarding procedures for connected and automated driving. More than 50 experts will gather in Berlin as part of the symposium. 16 Japanese researchers have confirmed their personal participation despite the grueling long-distance trip, and another 17 companies are joining online.
In addition to the mid-term presentation of VIVID, the symposium will provide a platform for the latest results from the PEGASUS project family, a series of other major projects funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Protection. Prof. Matthias Hein: "While the German-Japanese project team VIVID and DIVP approach the safety of autonomous driving from the side of sensor technologies, the PEGASUS projects SET Level and VV Methods do so from the side of traffic scenarios. Thus, the projects complement each other excellently and can release further synergies through the symposium." Presentations on the standardization of virtual test methods, panel discussions on AI safety, and contributions from high-ranking representatives of the German and Japanese ministries on future funding opportunities round out the symposium's program.
The Thuringian Center of Innovation in Mobility at TU Ilmenau is contributing its VISTA research infrastructure, which is unique in Europe, to the project. In the Virtual Road - Simulation and Test Facility, computer-based simulations of traffic scenarios and radar signal propagation are combined with real vehicles equipped with the latest radar sensors to thoroughly test their functional reliability, especially in challenging environments such as on bridges or in tunnels. The vehicle and the sensor signals thus form a real link in the otherwise virtual test chain. This "vehicle-in-the-loop" approach is a unique selling point of the ThIMo for the German-Japanese project. So it comes as little surprise that the head of the Japanese DIVP project, Professor Inoue, is stopping off in Ilmenau with a small delegation on his way from Tokyo to Berlin to see the possibilities of this research approach for himself on site:
"Sensor technologies are becoming increasingly important, not for the validation of automotive radar only, but even more so for a future safe mobility. My visit of the virtual road at ThIMo has impressed me very much and motivates us to further strengthen the fruitful cooperation between the two VIVID partner projects."
Thuringian Center of Innovation in Mobility (ThIMo): http://www.mobilitaet-thueringen.de/
VIVID project: https://www.safecad-vivid.net
DIVP project: https://divp.net/
PEGASUS project family: https://pegasus-family.de/
Prof. Dr. Matthias Hein
Head of Thuringian Center of Innovation in Mobility (ThIMo)
Head of RF and Microwave Research Group
+49 3677 69-2832