Research to prove self-driving cars are safe

Before self-driving cars can become reality, we have to be able to guarantee that they are safe. The Swedish automotive industry is working alongside academia and specialists in a comprehensive research project called Esplanade, to create a vital common safety methodology. Semcon’s contribution to the project focuses on communication between drivers and vehicles.

The aim of the Esplanade project is to create a common methodology to assess the safety of different systems, functions and scenarios to do with autonomous vehicles. Without this kind of methodology, no autonomous vehicles will be allowed out into ordinary traffic.

“One of the central questions is how communication between the car and the driver will take place. Who is responsible for the vehicle and how is responsibility allocated in different situations? This is the focus of Semcon’s subproject, combining the work of experts in technology and UX design,” says Stig Ursing, Technology Management Consultant at Semcon.

The tasks autonomous vehicles will complete with the help of technology are considerably more complex than those of manual vehicles. This makes it much more difficult to demonstrate that self-driving vehicles will be safe in all of the situations they may face.

“Proving safety is one of the big challenges facing self-driving vehicles. Our work in Esplanade, in partnership with academia and leading experts, means we can create the necessary methods to offer safe self-driving cars to our customers,” says Jonas Nilsson, responsible for the functional-safety of self-driving cars at Volvo Cars.

The Esplanade project builds on insights and questions from successful research project FUSE, which resulted in greater insights into the industrial challenges in the field, as well as a number of scientific articles. The ambition behind ESPLANADE is to continue to push research forwards in this highly critical and internationally recognised area. The methodology which is being developed will take autonomous vehicles an important step closer to everyday traffic.

FUSE and Esplanade are co-funded by Sweden’s innovation agency VINNOVA. The ESPLANADE project will run for three years, from 2017 to 2019. The project’s total budget is SEK 31 million. The project is managed by RISE Research Institutes of Sweden (previously SP Technical Research Institute of Sweden). Other participants are: Volvo Cars, Volvo GTT, Semcon, Systemite, Autoliv, Qamcom, KTH, Comentor and Delphi.

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