TÜV SÜD is involved in a number of projects aimed at getting autonomous vehicles ready for the mass market. Here’s how one, Project CETRAN, is helping to drive the field forward in urban Environments.
The Centre of Excellence for Testing and Research of Autonomous Vehicles – NTU (CETRAN) is a research initiative dedicated to developing standards and practices for Singapore to facilitate the future applications of autonomous vehicles (AVs) in urban environments. The initiative is carried out at the Singaporean Nanyang Technology University (NTU). The resulting research has countless wider applications for the use of AVs in urban environments in general.
The CETRAN project has several partners, including the Land Transport Authority of Singapore (LTA), Nanyang Technological University of Singapore (NTU), BMW Future Mobility Research and TÜV SÜD. This research will complement other AV projects in which TÜV SÜD is also participating, such as Germany’s PEGASUS project.
Ensuring that autonomous vehicles are safe to users and pedestrians, and are secure from the threat of cyber-attacks, are major hurdles to be overcome before it is possible to develop a rigorous and robust testing regime. In turn, these challenges must be overcome before driverless automotive technology can be deployed and commercialised in Singapore and other urban centres.
CETRAN is a collaboration between the government of Singapore and NTU. It forms part of a larger project to improve transport infrastructure (and to move towards a “Smart Transport” city). The adoption of AVs in public transportation is a significant part of the broader drive by Singapore for its smart urban mobility vision, given its resource needs for land and manpower. It is envisioned that the rollout of AVs would also require compatibility with complementing technologies, such as a new ERP (toll road system) and road and traffic control features such as beacons, sensors and smart traffic junctions. The broader strategy is then to facilitate the adoption of new technologies, and develop corresponding testing methodologies, that enable Singapore to become an early adopter of AVs in public transportation. As there are no international standards for many of these connected and autonomous technologies, TÜV SÜD will be an important partner with CETRAN to play an integral role in standards development and help in realizing this vision. The ultimate goal is to pave the way for Singapore’s ambitious target of deploying AVs for public and shared transport country-wide in the next 10 to 15 years.
The CETRAN project has a scope of ten years and essentially consists of:
- AV functional safety – of first priority is to ensure that the vehicles are engineered so as to be safe to use.
- Standards development – to facilitate co-development of the standards for AVs by the industries and academia for adoption in Singapore.
As the first priority, the safety goal is to make feasible the implementation of driverless public buses, enable car sharing and autonomous trucks with a particular focus on minimising congestion and enabling more intelligent control of traffic. TÜV SÜD is directly involved in three areas:
- Safety – including the generation of particular cases through the examination of Singapore traffic data collection, and the construction and classification of test cases.
- Simulation – the simulation of traffic situations in order to develop safe technologies, the aim being to minimise the amount of physical testing required.
- Testing – the construction of test guidelines designed to explore vehicle safety, in particular to design a way of physically testing AVs.
The large-scale use of AVs in urban environments is currently precluded by a lack of robust testing and certification techniques. Without them, it’s not yet possible to ensure the safe use of such a revolutionary technology.
As one of the world’s most dense urban environments, the challenges associated with the growing trend towards automation in Singapore are numerous. However successfully overcoming these challenges will help make driverless vehicles ready for the world stage, in turn making our cities much safer, greener and more human-friendly environments.