When highly automated driving requires a connection to a backend server, to the infrastructure and to other vehicles, communications will become a fixed component within the automobile – requiring a complete rethinking. In the past, auto manufacturers could independently determine whether and to what extent they wanted to implement driver assist and infotainment systems and use them to differentiate themselves on the market. As automated driving advances, it is necessary to standardize a jointly defined, minimum level of system performance. That will ensure the necessary communications between all road users at the highest level of automation and will allow prior testing based on jointly defined criteria. This means implementing necessary functions that also work between luxury class and compact cars.
The industry's greatest challenge in introducing automated driving is mixed-traffic scenarios, i.e. when automated, partially automated and manually operated vehicles are all on the road at the same time. This requires an additional component for artificial intelligence. The fully automated vehicle must be able to predictively and correctly detect manually steered vehicles within fractions of a second. A simple "if – then" statement such as commonly seen in computer programs today will no longer be sufficient. These systems require many years of training in a variety of different situations so that they can respond appropriately at the decisive moment. It will be some time before fully automated vehicles take over the steering wheel. However, the way is already being paved today by advancing standardization, the development of the technological fundamentals and the precedent-setting definition of legal frameworks. Safety and liability will be the deciding criteria in making automated driving a success, and they will figure prominently as considerations in every automobile purchase. Because man has always had zero tolerance for machine error.
About the authors:
Christoph Wagner is Director Market Segment Automotive at Rohde and Schwarz in Munich, responsible for the marketing of T&M solutions in this business field - www.rohde-schwarz.com
Holger Rosier is a technology manager at Rohde & Schwarz in Munich. He works on technology trends for the networked automobile.