The sightseeing car - basis for autonomous driving
Some driver assistance systems are already in widespread use today - emergency brake assist systems that initiate braking when the vehicle is parked too tightly, or lane departure warning systems that vibrate as soon as the car crosses a line. Some lane keeping systems even steer the car directly back on track. Modern vehicles are beginning to do more and more, but it is still important that the driver continues to fulfill her job and is ready to intervene. In critical situations, it must be clear who takes the wheel - the system or the driver. Therefore, the car must take the driver view into consideration. In the future, the vehicle will observe its occupants and also analyze the movements in the interior using cameras and sensors - a new basis for assistance systems.
Cameras that monitor the driver
The Fraunhofer Institute works with partners in the automotive industry on a system that determines the number and size of people in the car. This technology should serve as the basis for new assistance systems for autonomous or semi-autonomous driving.
Cameras are able to capture the interior of the vehicle and analyze the number of people, their size and their posture. Even objects that people are currently dealing with are recognized. For this, the system derives the activities of the passengers. This can be important if the driver in the future no longer has to draw his full attention to the road, because the car drives part of the route.
Through the sensors, the system can then estimate how long the driver will need after automated driving to completely regain control of the vehicle.
Eye to eye with the driver analyzer
Even the automotive supplier Continental has already installed a camera in the dashboard of test vehicles which looks the driver in the eye. It recognizes the head position and the direction of the driver, as well as how attentive the driver is.
The next milestone is a system that will allow cars to autonomously drive on the freeways and then hand them back to the driver. If this does not respond, the system analyzes the environment and brings the vehicle safely to a halt. By 2020, Conti wants to be on the market with this.
At the Institute for Vehicle Technology (IFM) in Essen, TUV NORD has been offering services in the areas of networked and semi-automated driving for several years.
In particular, the "functional safety" is an important aspect here - it describes the rules and standards depending on the risk and danger levels in hardware and software aspects that help to avoid potential hazards. For an example, many applications in the commercial vehicle sector (eg. autonomous driving in agriculture) are successfully transferred to the passenger car sector.
TUV NORD engineers specialize in neutral testing, consulting and certification services throughout the entire value-added chain. These also include outside access to the car board network. In terms of data security and radio quality, IFM works closely with TüViT (a company of TÜV NORD GROUP) and CETECOM (a subsidiary of the RWTÜV Group).