Safety is a precondition to the roll-out of Connected and Automated Driving (CAD) on our roads. However, safety validation is rather a complex and technical issue. During the vehicle lifecycle, interaction with road users and the environment as well as highly variable safety scenarios have to be considered. In last week’s ERTICO Academy webinar, leading experts and representatives from the EU-funded HEADSTART project presented solutions for a harmonised approach for bringing safety into our driverless vehicles and onto European roads.

 “We can only reap the full benefits brought by CAD with a multidisciplinary approach involving all relevant transport stakeholder sectors. This is where ERTICO comes in. The ERTICO Partnership, with its 120 mobility stakeholders, is the ideal eco-system in which to make a real contribution to the research, development and deployment of connected and automated driving. Harmonisation and standardisation are key enablers for interoperability and smart mobility solutions must include a variety of technologies across different sectors. ERTICO’s aim is to work towards the adoption of harmonized standards and methodologies to seamlessly combine a variety of devices and platforms into one service”, says Stephane Dreher, Senior Manager at ERTICO.

The EU-funded HEADSTART (Harmonised European Solutions for Testing Automated Road Transport) project, in which ERTICO participates, defines testing and validation procedures of Connected and Automated Driving functions including technologies such as communication, cyber-security and positioning. The tests are carried out in simulation, on test tracks and real-world fields to validate safety and security performance according to the users’ needs. A unique feature of this project is that an expert network has been created in its early stages. “Collaboration is essential to be able to develop the most harmonised methodology Europe-wide and globally. To ensure this, the expert group is used as an active tool in which we engage with stakeholders, re-assess needs and requirements continuously to avoid misalignment”, says Álvaro Arrúe HEADSTART project coordinator. The three-year long project aims at a European approach on the complex topic of safety assurance in automated vehicles, with a consortium based across nine different countries. The project partners are either leading or coordinating relevant European CAD projects, and are heavily involved in strong national projects. Their experience, expertise and methodology used forms a knowledge base that collectively can be applied towards a Europe-wide solution.

“Safety assurance is complicated. When it comes to Level 3+ systems to be tested, several calculations show that we would have to drive billions of kilometres to encounter every possible scenario. In addition, there is currently no evaluation methodology available yet for Level 3+ systems”, explains Nicolas Wagener, Scientific Assistant at RWTH Aachen. The need to create a collaborative data driving safety assurance tool is evident. “By collecting the data together and saving it just once in a common database we can select the relevant scenarios for each function, but do not have these immense distances for testing each time. Instead, we can use a common database to derive the relevant scenarios”. Many national and international projects are already underway in tackling the challenges of CAD safety validation. However, a collaborative, harmonised approach is needed and a common methodology and consensus on international level is the key to success.

“Technologies like positioning and V2X communication can improve the robustness of Automated Driving functions as they enable the vehicle to include information that is out of the range of its sensors. They however introduce risks for new failures and need to be taken into account in validation methodologies”, says Andrea Steccanella from CRF, who is leading the Positioning Working Group in the project. Cybersecurity and trust in the information are essential. One of the particularities of the HEADSTART approach is to take these technologies into account in the validation process.

The ERTICO Academy Webinar series once again has shown that collaboration across borders is indispensable for making smart mobility a reality. Closing the gap between different initiatives to avoid fragmentation is essential when it comes to deployment of Connected and Automated Driving in the future. To find out more about ERTICO’s activities on Connected and Automated Driving, please contact Stéphane Dreher. To learn more about the ERTICO Partnership and how you can benefit from teaming up with ERTICO, please contact Cordelia Wilson.

Watch the full session below. Registrations for the next webinar on “How to support fast innovation through different levels of physical and digital infrastructure measures?” are open here.