Horiba MIRA urges industry to prepare for new automation regulations

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Automotive testing specialist Horiba MIRA has welcomed the first regulations focused on the automation of passenger vehicles, ahead of new UN regulations on Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) coming into force next year, and has encouraged the industry to prepare for an impending shift to the scenario-based design and test framework that automation technologies require.

The United Nations (UN) regulations are designed to enable the safe introduction of Level 3 automation features in certain traffic environments. It will apply to 60 countries including the UK, Japan and European Union member states and is due to be introduced in January 2021.

The regulations set out strict requirements for Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) for passenger cars including defining safety requirements for emergency manuevers in case of an imminent collision, transition demand when the system asks the driver to take back control, as well as minimum risk manuevers when the driver does not, in order to protect the safety of the vehicle occupants and other road users.

Welcoming the upcoming changes, Rob Capaldi (below), commercial manager for connected and autonomous vehicles at Horiba MIRA, believes the ALKS regulations create a number of challenges for auto makers. These include the need to ensure safe system behaviors by designing for, and validating, the Safety Of The Intended Functionality (SOTIF) and the potential difficulties in defining and validating minimum risk manuevers.

“As the first international regulation for Level 3 vehicle automation features, the new UN regulations on ALKS are a major step forward in paving the way for the future generations of automated vehicles,” he said.

“For example, if a vehicle is traveling at 60km/h and it encounters a hazard, the vehicle maker must define and test the safest action available. This requires a fresh perspective as there is not always one single response to emergency manuevers – and they must ensure the vehicle can automatically react to the situation and make an appropriate decision to control the outcome of the scenario.

“Another core challenge is establishing correct application of SOTIF, which states that situational awareness in all conditions – such as dense traffic or extreme weather – is critical to ensuring safe driving under normal operation in the absence of failure. The SOTIF standards advise on the best practice to guide the design, verification and validation steps to ensure safe operation of the systems under normal operation.”

With this in mind, Horiba MIRA is advising the industry that a truly in-depth and robust vehicle testing program – centred on scenario-based testing, simulation-based verification and validation and design for SOTIF – is essential to comply with these new regulations.

Capaldi added, “With just under six months until the new ALKS regulations come into force, we understand that for many, this will be an area fraught with complexity. There’s no question that compliance calls for a more in-depth design and test program to prove product integrity and show that a vehicle is safe in a variety of different scenarios.

“How vehicle manufacturers do this will be dependent upon utilizing scenario-based testing, simulation-based verification and validation and be supported by physical tests to characterize and validate the simulation data.”

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