New approval methods needed, finds TÜV SÜD conference

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Experts at the Homologation conference held in December 2017 by TÜV SÜD Auto Service and TÜV SÜD Academy concluded that road vehicle approval methods will be changed massively with the advent of automated driving.

Over the two days of the conference, 140 experts from industry, regulatory bodies and research institutes discussed how technological progress will change road vehicle homologation. Other topics addressed included international approval procedures in countries such as Russia and China, and the approval of agricultural vehicles.

The control units of an automated vehicle encompass roughly one hundred million lines of software code. “That is ten times more than in a Boeing 747 and 100 times more than a space shuttle,” said Alexander Kraus, senior vice president at TÜV SÜD Auto Service, in his welcoming speech. In view of this enormous scale, virtual testing and simulation are becoming increasingly important. Kraus emphasised the importance of looking at the whole vehicle first and assessing individual components in the next step.

Several technical talks addressed possible approaches. One idea envisages computerising the entire approval procedure – virtual homologation based on virtual vehicles. However, the development of this method is still in its absolute infancy, explained Dr Houssem Abdellatif of TÜV SÜD Auto Service.

Compared to this, the changes in the approval of agricultural and two-wheeled vehicles, which became effective on January 1, 2018, are seen as relatively down to earth. However, in view of the small volumes and numerous variants involved, they nevertheless cause major efforts for manufacturers. The new rules are also significant because the agricultural industry has already embraced autonomous harvesters and is thus a pioneer in autonomous driving – albeit on non-public terrain.

The conference found that a steadily growing number of component type approvals further challenges the industry by causing increasing efforts. While a passenger car requires around 150 ECE approvals, the number is far higher for commercial vehicles and their numerous variants. Every approval includes manufacturer certificates, which can expire or involve other challenges – for example, if the address of the company headquarters differs from that of the production site.

According to many conference participants, the exchange of information on these issues offers major benefits in practice. At the conference, held at TÜV SÜD’s premises in Munich, Germany, the experts discussed these topics in specialist workshops. An additional special course held in the mornings offered newcomers insights into these topics.

The experts have unanimously welcomed the internationalisation and harmonisation of approval regulations for years. However, the conference found that national regulations in individual countries may present further obstacles. Experts well acquainted with the approval methods in the Russian Federation and the associated Eurasian Customs Union (EACU) updated the plenum on the relevant regulations and advised on how to deal with approval in practice.

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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