HAVEit project proves series maturity of automatic driving
At the event in Boras (Sweden), the presentations included an assistant system that steers a car through a highway construction site, an overtaking assistant that automatically passes by upon pushing a button or a system for trucks that recognizes if the vehicle approaches a traffic stall and automatically reduces speed.
All of these highly automated driving functions have been developed within the scope of the HAVEit (Highly Automated Vehicles for Intelligent Transport) research project partially funded by the EU. The systems were demonstrated in seven experimental vehicles in Boras as well as the near-by Volvo test track in Hällered. Among the companies and research institutes participating in the project were Volkswagen, Volvo, Continental AG, the German aerospace research center DLR and French transport technology research center IFSTTAR.
“In view of increasing traffic density, the growing flood of information available to drivers and the rising average age of the population, highly automated vehicles will characterize the future of mobility. Automation will relieve drivers of some of the stress of driving as it guides them through traffic more efficiently, using more environmentally friendly technology”, said HAVEit project coordinator Reiner Hoeger.
Highly automated vehicles can take over three main driving functions: steering (lateral automation), path planning (longitudinal automation) and high-precision navigation. The aim is to make driving easier for people and create highly automated systems which they can use intuitively. As part of the HAVEit project, three automation modes which can be selected and activated by drivers were developed and implemented in all demonstration vehicles. In the first mode, the driver steers the vehicle alone, assisted by already-available standard driver assistance systems, such as lane keep assist or an emergency brake assist. In partly or semi-automated mode, the vehicle drives with longitudinal automation, so drivers no longer have to accelerate or brake.
At the level of high automation, lateral automation comes into play, meaning the driver no longer has to steer. Despite the level of automation selected, the driver is always fully responsible for maneuvering the vehicle and can take control in place of the system at any time. The driver also has to monitor the vehicle’s driving maneuvers. In the partly and highly automated modes, the system observes the driver with the help of a camera located inside the vehicle. The moment the driver stops paying attention to the road, the assistant prompts them to take control of the wheel. The DLR and the Wuerzburg Institute of Traffic Sciences (WIVW) developed the concepts of adaptive communication between the driver and the automated vehicle.
Seven vehicles, including passenger cars, trucks and a bus have been presented at the event:
- Four vehicles are concerned with the development of driver assistant features for innovative safety, comfort and environmentally-friendly driving. They display integrated features made possible through technology which is already widely available. The applications which have been developed within the framework of this project are an automated assistance for roadworks and congestion and a temporary "autopilot". Automated queue assistance has been demonstrated in a truck. An "Active Green Driving" hybrid bus has also been presented.
- The other three vehicles drew attention to innovative components of safety design: These vehicles displayed designs and a migration strategy for highly automated driving. In addition, by-wire actuators have been developed to open the way for fully automated driving. The applications which have resulted from this include a brake-by-wire truck for open roads, a joint system interaction and an architecture migration demonstrator vehicle.
Assistant systems enabling semi-automatic or full automatic driving have been installed in seven test vehicles.
Having created the foundation for the development of a series of highly automated features, the HAVEit project is regarded by its participants a huge milestone for the future of mobility. “The aim of the project was to develop ideas which we could actually implement within the foreseeable future and which could be brought to the streets,” Hoeger said.
Several of the ideas developed in the project could be lead to series production within the next five to ten years, Hoeger said.