Q&A: Christoph Stadler, Developer of Automated Driving Simulation Audi AG
Safe and secure transport is rightly a top priority for everyone developing next-generation vehicles. But with the ever-increasing sophistication of highly automated vehicles comes the need for equally cutting-edge testing and simulation environments.
Automotive IQ's Testing ADAS and Self-Driving Cars conference, which is part of our Automotive Safety and Security week of events, aims to provide a platform for sharing solutions for bringing autonomous drive and ADAS to public streets faster and more safely.
Audi AG's Christoph Stadler will be a guest speaker at the event, and we caught up with him to ask what key issues he faces in his role as developer of automated driving simulation:
What role do you expect virtual testing to take as the number of automated driving functions continues to increase?
With the increasing complexity of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) being developed, a classic validation – with complete coverage of all situations by system tests in the laboratory and real test drives – is no longer possible due to pressure of time and cost aspects.
As a consequence, the release of highly automated driving (HAD) functions are only possible with great effort. Therefore virtual testing is required to provide a tool to represent critical scenarios which occur rarely or are hardly reproducible by experiment. The role of virtual testing gets more and more important and will become a precondition for the development for HAD functions.
In your testing observations, what are some of the requirements virtual test tracks should fulfil?
As there are high requirements concerning quality and behavior for automated driving, virtual test tracks should approximate the reality as accurately as possible. But the more detailed the virtual environment the more complex it gets to gather all information needed and keep these up to date.
Nevertheless there are some key requirements. The evaluated test cases have to be applicable and reproducible in the early development process and shall be introduced in the current process of development. The validity of the results generated by simulation have to be verified by a sufficient similarity between the virtual test track and the results of a corresponding sequence on the road.
Do you think the current testing methodology needs to be altered in order to validate automated driving function?
Today there are many established driving assistance systems which are validated and verified with appropriate testing methods and environments. But no tested concept exists for an integral validation of autonomous vehicles. With an increasing complexity in the developed driving functions, the number of scenarios to be tested grows by a great measure.
This can no longer be handled with state of art methods. It has to be defined which scenarios are critical for the functions to be tested for which parameter ranges and under which constraints. Test runs on the road will be part of the testing methodology for a long time, but a large percentage will be done in virtual environments.
Would current methodology allow for scalability?
As most of today’s testing procedure is based on real-world test drives and HAD systems have to deal with many different situations, it is difficult to test exact situations on the road because it is too dangerous for test drivers or too expensive to reconstruct such traffic scenarios.
Based on the current methodology, the components which still need to be tested on the road have to be reduced to a minimum. For the other steps of the process, mapping in the virtual world is necessary. Generally the current V-Model development process is transferable with a strong focus on virtual testing.