Cooperative, networked and automated mobility brings with it many safety-relevant questions that scientists at the CARISSMA Institute of the Technische Hochschule Ingolstadt (THI) are helping to solve. A Renault Twizzy equipped with comprehensive sensor technology is now being used to support this research.
In order to evaluate different situations, it is necessary to gather experience from real experiments in addition to the virtual approach through simulations. The BMBF-funded ANTON project - Safeguarding autonomous driving functions with exchange of trajectories and objects - provides an experimental platform for automated driving for this purpose. The project is part of a comprehensive research network in which the THI and external partners are jointly researching innovative technologies for vehicle and road safety: SAFIR (Safety for all - Innovative Research Partnership on Global Vehicle and Road Safety Systems).
The main objective of ANTON is to develop an experimental platform for researching and testing connected and automated driving functions. The platform is based on a production vehicle, enhanced with drive-by-wire functions, an open software interface, Vehicle2X communication and sensors.
The drive-by-wire system of the test vehicle allows full access to the vehicle steering, brake and accelerator pedal or even the vehicle lighting via the CAN bus. Therefore, the vehicle can even be fully controlled with a joystick or via a computer.
The open-source software interface offers predefined modules for perception, decision-making and planning. In addition, it allows users to modify the source code of the software, e.g. to implement new sensors or algorithms or to deliberately insert bugs for testing purposes. Finally, the outputs of the autonomous driving stack are transmitted via CAN bus to the drive-by-wire low-level controller. The low-level controller takes care of the commands to the actuators.
The test vehicle has flexible sensor mounts that allow the user to attach different types of sensors such as cameras, radars, lidar (laser scanner), or even ultrasound. This allows the use of different types and quantities of sensors for a specific application. At the moment, the platform is equipped with 8 cameras and a lidar; the scientists are already working on the integration of radar sensors.
The expansion of the test vehicle to include Vehicle2X communication will enable the exchange of information with other vehicles and the traffic infrastructure. The focus is on applications to increase safety: the exchange of sensor information is intended to expand and improve the vehicle's perception of its surroundings. Other applications include remote control of the vehicle ("tele-operated driving") and the exchange of manoeuvre intentions between vehicles.
In addition to the SAFIR research network, the vehicle is also used as a test platform for other projects, e.g. for the development of the Ingolstadt test field for connected and automated driving called Erste Meile - IN2Lab. IN2Lab provides enhanced perception for automated driving vehicles through redundant infrastructure-based sensors and Vehicle2X communication. Last but not least, ANTON will also be used in teaching. It will enable future engineers to gain invaluable hands-on experience in the field of cooperative connected and automated mobility.