Horiba Mira, the automotive engineering consultancy, is urging the transport industry to prepare for new UN regulations on Automated Lane Keeping Systems (ALKS) that come into force at the start of 2021.
The new regulations, published by UNECE’s World Forum for Harmonization of Vehicle 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.
Level 3 automation means a driver can safely turn their attention away from the driving tasks, e.g. the driver can text or watch a movie.
A level 3 vehicle will handle situations that call for an immediate response, like emergency braking.
The driver must still be prepared to intervene within some limited time, specified by the manufacturer, when called upon by the vehicle to do so.
A level 3 automated system essentially acts as a co-driver that will alert drivers in an orderly fashion when they are needed to drive.
'...The new UN regulations are a major step forward for automated vehicles...'
Rob Capaldi, Horiba Mira commercial manager for connected and autonomous vehicles, welcomed the new regulations, but believes the ALKS will create a number of challenges for carmakers.
These include the need to ensure safe system behaviours by designing for, and validating, the Safety Of The Intended Functionality (SOTIF) and the potential difficulties in defining and validating minimum risk manoeuvres.
SOTIF is shorthand for the ISO/PAS 21448 standard.
ISO 21448 applies to functionality that requires proper situational awareness in order to be safe.
The standard is concerned with guaranteeing safety of the intended functionality — SOTIF — in the absence of a fault. This is in contrast with traditional functional safety, which is concerned with mitigating risk due to system failure.
Capaldi said: “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.
“For example, if a vehicle is travelling 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 manoeuvres – and they must ensure the vehicle can automatically react to the situation and make an appropriate decision to control the outcome of the scenario.”
Capaldi said another core challenge for automation is the 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 programme – centred on scenario-based testing, simulation-based verification and validation and design for SOTIF – is essential to comply with these new regulations.
Capaldi said: “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 programme 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 utilising scenario-based testing, simulation-based verification and validation and be supported by physical tests to characterise and validate the simulation data.”