Styrian companies play a leading role when it comes to developing technologies for self-driving cars. In the course of a Business Lounge organised by ACstyria and ALP.Lab on 21 June 2018, Styrian industry discussed challenges that are being faced on the way to fully autonomous driving. The fact that there were more than 130 participants showed the high interest encountered by this event.
One year ago, ALP.Lab GmbH – a merger between AVL List, Joanneum Research, Magna Steyr, Technical University Graz and Virtual Vehicle – was established. This meant the birth of a comprehensive infrastructure for testing automated driving systems. Customers operating in international automotive industry will not only be offered public roads, dedicated test routes and technology necessary for data recording but also a complete simulation environment. In addition, ASFINAG (Autobahnen- und Schnellstraßen-Finanzierungs-Aktiongesellschaft – Motorway and Express-Road Financing Stock Corporation) has equipped the public test routes with comprehensive sensory systems in order to enable detailed analyses and evaluations. In the course of the ACstyria Business Lounge “Autonomous Driving”, an outlook was given on future developments and projects. In this respect, the topic of safety was attached special importance to.
Validation plays a key role
“The claim for safety is not negotiable,” emphasised Eckard Steiger (Bosch) in his lecture. In his opinion, the special challenge is that of the high number of functions, applications and mobility concepts to be taken into account when developing autonomous systems. Each of the different vehicle concepts necessitates technical, methodological and legal foundations. This implies a complex process, which needs to be validated accordingly. It also is according to Christian Payerl (Magna Steyr Fahrzeugtechnik – Vehicle Engineering) that this is an important module for introducing automated vehicles onto the market. In addition to testing in real road traffic, a focus is on creating virtual environments so that situations that will otherwise occur seldom can be simulated in a well-aimed manner. This requires very reliable sensor models or sensor simulators.
Sensors for more safety
As a leading manufacturer of chips for driver assistance systems, Infineon Technologies in Graz develops components for the sensors that provide such technologies as RADAR (Radio Detection and Ranging), LIDAR (Light Detection and Ranging) or 3D cameras, which are the basic requirement for making sure that the picture given of the environment in which the vehicle and all the other participants and objects are located is accurate, reliable and as complete as possible. For Stefan Rohringer, Head of the Infineon Engineering Centre Graz, semi-conductors form the key technology for enabling autonomous driving in future – and, in rudiments, even today – by means of sensors, actuators and high computing power. Until things actually are that far, quite a few miles will still be covered within the ALP.Lab Test Infrastructure.