Autonomous Vehicle System
HFM offers an all-in-one solution for integration of autonomous functionality on any vehicle. The hardware system encompasses obstacle and localization sensors, a street-legal drive-by-wire system, the necessary control units as well as project-specific service or sensor units. All units are delivered with the software allowing a safe, reliable and comfortable functionality. Retrofitted vehicles equipped with the Autonomous Vehicle System maintain their certification properties and remain street legal.
These days, almost every week one can read about new autonomous vehicle applications worldwide. Shuttle busses and utility vehicles are presented and when the often repeated predictions are correct, 2021 will be the year when our mobility will begin to fundamentally change as the first commercial autonomous vehicle are released to roam the streets.
HFM believes in the great and transforming potential of automated vehicles for the mitigation of imminent mobility pain points, such as heavy traffic congestion in cities, first and last mile travel in sub-urban areas, monotonous work on long-distance transport, traffic fatalities, alongside a seemingly infinite list of driverless utility vehicle applications.
However, unlike many players in field, HFM approaches this goal not with rushed activism but with a pragmatic and safety-oriented development. Most of the vehicles being deployed in 'test projects' today are actually toys, not cars. Here is why:
Autonomous Vehicle Homologation
Apart from the technical implementation there are two main issues to face when one wants to bring a new vehicle into operation on public roads, being it a conventional vehicle or an automated one. The first issue is to comply with the extensive catalogue of homologation requirements of the road administration for road type approval. It includes basic requirements for vehicle safety, equipment and performance that depend on the desired vehicle class which in turn is determined by the vehicle application. People transport vehicles might have more homologation requirements than cargo vehicles. The second issue is of jurisdictional nature. Every vehicle manufacturer is required to develop his product in accordance with the state of art in science and technology. For the automotive industry this standard is the ISO26262 which describes development processes to guarantee the safety of all critical vehicle functions during operation to a maximal degree. Being driven by quick success and the drive to be the first to the autonomous mobility market, companies today often skip this lengthy process and design their vehicles with 'common sense'. By doing so they not only make themselves highly vulnerable to lawsuits in case of fatal accidents but more importantly they put a risk to passengers and traffic participants in the environment.
HFM neither is willing to accept any unhandled risk for health and life of persons nor does it believe that quick-tailored solutions will bring any sustainable products. From the beginning HFM therefore incorporates the highest standards of automotive development and aims at full street-legal vehicles that are always in accordance with state of art in science and technology.
The Autonomous Vehicle System of HFM includes the following technical units:
Figure 1: VCU
Figure 2: Drive-by-Wire
Vehicle Control Unit (VCU)
The central nervous system of the vehicle where all information come together. It implements the safety-relevant functions such as drive-train control, sub-system diagnostic and the vehicle state machine. The VCU software is fully developed inhouse by HFM. (See Figure 1)
Schaeffler Paravan Drive-by-Wire System
The system controlling steering, braking and - in some vehicles - throttle. As a highly safety-critical sub-system the Space Drive System is developed in accordance with ISO26262 and reaches the highest safety-level ASIL D. It optionally includes a joystick input device. (See Figure 2)
The brain of the Autonomous Vehicle System fuses sensor data for high-precision localization, environmental interpretation and trajectory planning for driving missions. It mainly relies on automotive-certified lidar technology, fused with additional sensory data from various other sources. (See Figure 3)
Figure 3: IBEO Driver System
Vehicle Monitoring System
The HFM Vehicle Monitoring System is a useful tool for data collection and storage for vehicle surveillance and acquisition of data for analytics. It includes and LTE and/or WiFi device to allow remote access to the collected data while being barred from interfering with the drive function.
The remote control allows a smooth and invisible take-over of an unmanned vehicle from a short distance. This feature has proven to be especially useful for showcar applications.
The Driver Display allows a much more comprehensive readout and control of the vehicle state than a basic LED button interface. Especially in utility vehicles it enables advanced control of special vehicle functions. (See Figure 4)
Optional technical equipment includes:
Figure 4: Driver Display
Your own automated application
HFM is ready to jump in and equip your new vehicle or retrofit your existing vehicle with automated driving functions. The achievable level of automation depends on how deep the system can be integrated into the vehicle platform. The earlier in the development process the Autonomous Vehicle System is incorporated the more immersive the experience can be. Street-legal automated operation depends on many factors of the specific use case and HFM is more than happy to sit down with you and work out the details of road approval for your project.
Besides providing the default package HFM is always open to incorporate existing systems from the customer side or newly develop project-specific applications that enable unique use cases.