TÜV SÜD has entered into an extensive cooperation with AVL ZalaZONE, which operates one of Europe’s most modern proving grounds (pictured, above) in the Hungarian town of Zalaegerszeg.
Although virtual testing methods are playing an increasingly important role, physical testing of automated driving functions remains the state-of-the-art test method for autonomous vehicle (AV) approval. With this in mind, both partners are seeking to provide customers with even more comprehensive support in the type approval process, extending from the early development stage of automated vehicles. Another key goal of their cooperation is to explore the interactions between physical and virtual test methods in order to close the regulatory gap more rapidly.
“ZalaZONE operates one of the largest and most modern proving grounds in Europe, making it the ideal partner for TÜV SÜD and an important building block in complementing our global test offerings for OEMs and suppliers,” explained Christian Gnandt, global head, highly automated driving at TÜV SÜD.
For automated driving in particular, the proving ground offers a host of facilities including a two-lane track for cut-in tests (see diagram below). “Test-method development and validation are fundamental requirements for new standards. International standards, in turn, provide the basis for further closure of the regulatory gap, and for doing so as quickly as possible in order to get AVs on the road without delay,” continued Gnandt.
Currently, approval requirements still vary from country to country. However, TÜV SÜD experts are already able to offer customers an entire range of type approval tests – from physical and virtual test methods to cyber security and connectivity testing – for all major markets. “All services from a single source is our theme for the cooperation,” said Gnadt.
Zoltán Hamar, head of technology & sales at AVL ZalaZONE, added: “By joining forces with TÜV SÜD, we have brought on board one of the most internationally renowned cooperation partners, as well as one of the most experienced in the testing of automated driving functions, to serve our customers at the highest level.”
The cooperation with TÜV SÜD offers ZalaZONE customers the opportunity of working with an internationally renowned partner on combining physical and virtual testing, performing tests for cyber security and Car2X, and safeguarding trust in virtual test methods. In turn, ZalaZONE and its ultramodern proving ground provide TÜV SÜD with an additional option to perform reproducible physical tests for the validation of autonomous vehicles.
Further development and fine-tuning of simulation methods will also result from the partnership, with ZalaZONE providing TÜV SÜD with seamless processing and use of test data for controlling the test vehicles, or – in the case of data from physical tests – for continual improvement and evaluation of the simulation process. “Based on our cooperation with ZalaZONE, we can offer our customers one-stop access to all tests from development to homologation,” said Gnandt.
TÜV SÜD has already played a major role in a variety of automated driving projects – including a partnership with Germany’s rail operator, Deutsche Bahn, to launch the first regular service by an autonomous bus on public roads in Germany; the testing of autonomous vehicles made by US company Motional; and a collaboration with Israeli company Mobileye, a subsidiary of the Intel Group.
It. also serves as a partner of regulatory authorities around the globe, including CATARC in China, as well as CETRAN, the Centre of Excellence for Testing & Research of Autonomous Vehicles NTU, in Singapore. Working with the latter, TÜV SÜD developed one of the world’s first standards for autonomous vehicles in Singapore (TR68 – Technical Reference).
“Our cooperation with OEMs, suppliers, research institutes and approval authorities around the globe is the bedrock of our expertise in approval testing and rapid market launch of autonomous driving,” concluded Gnandt.