Use of vehicle control units as event data recorder (DER) for hybrid and electric vehicles

In January 2017, Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) joined forces with DEKRA Automobil GmbH to set up and run a research project called SEANCe – Safe electro mobility before, during and after a crash. It is a subproject of a program funded by the German Federal Ministry of Education and Research called FH Impuls. This subproject explores such areas as investigating the possibility of utilizing vehicle control units as event data recorders in hybrid and electric vehicles. It also studies the limits of classic accident analysis, employing typical test scenarios with driver assistance systems. The findings are to be used to devise proposals for the design of a black box, which could be employed by the legislative authorities as a scientific basis for future regulations on this subject.

A fundamental intent and purpose of the increasingly greater distribution of driver assistance systems is to reach Vision Zero (zero road deaths). This objective can only be achieved by largely eliminating human error as the main cause of accidents by the implementation of more advanced assist systems or by autonomous driving. A broad acceptance of these systems among the general public can only be achieved if the accidents that occur despite of these systems can be completely resolved by independent investigations.The active/autonomous safety devices found on those vehicles already on the market are insufficient for standard accident analysis to completely resolve many accidents. In the end, from an accident analysis viewpoint and above all in respect to the highly automated vehicle systems of the future, a correspondingly equipped EDR (black box) is to be formulated as an essential demand to be made on the legislative authorities. A broad alliance of expert organizations, scientific institutes, insurance companies, sub-suppliers, OEMs and the judiciary appears to be the best way of actually implementing this objective. The establishment of a European standard must constitute the minimum objective; although best of all would be a worldwide standard. The founded work group AHEAD with participation of the THI pursues exactly this vision.