P.E.A.R.S – Prospective Effectiveness Assessment for Road Safety

Almost every new car today is equipped with a number of different driver assistance systems, whether relatively simple lane change warning systems or automatic emergency brake assist systems, which are designed to prevent accidents in urban traffic or mitigate collisions. In addition, autonomous driving, especially on motorways, is already within sight and will come in the (near) future.

The question that inevitably arises for many engineers is the influence of these systems on real road traffic. To what extent is the increasing market penetration noticeable in traffic and to what extent do the systems prevent accidents and injuries? The latter question aims at the pre-crash phase, i.e. the time before the first collision of an impending accident – a question that cannot be answered immediately due to a lack of data in real road traffic.

To address these questions, an international consortium, P.E.A.R.S (“Prospective Effectiveness Assessment for Road Safety”), was founded in 2012. It consists primarily of partners from the automotive industry, scientific institutions and universities (e.g. TU Dresden). The aim is to develop an understandable, reliable and accepted simulation method for the quantitative evaluation of accident-preventing technologies / driver assistance systems. In addition, an ISO standard for the predictive evaluation of the road safety of active driver assistance systems installed in the vehicle is to be developed – also here with the inclusion of virtual simulation methods, which should enable a cost-effective evaluation.

The P.E.A.R.S. consortium is divided into a total of four sub-working groups, whereby since November of last year I have been allowed to participate in Working Group A (WGA) “Methods, models and effectiveness calculation”. The main aim of WGA is to answer the following three questions:

  1. Definition of evaluation targets and a basis for comparison (“baseline”) for evaluation
  2. Implementation of virtual simulation models
  3. Development of metrics for estimating the effectiveness of safety systems

Since I am still in the process of getting an overview of the already extensive work of working group A, I cannot define my exact topic at this point yet. However, it seems that in the WGA – similar to SePIA – I will be dealing with the comparability / extrapolation of simulation results for other regions / countries.

So far the work in this extremely international consortium gives me a lot of pleasure and I am looking forward to report already in March from the General Assembly in Frankfurt. For further information / future publications, a regular visit to the P.E.A.R.S homepage at www.pearsinitiative.com is definitely recommended!

SePIA: A scenario-based platform for the inspection of automated driving functions

As part of my work at the Chair of Automotive Engineering at TU Dresden, I am involved in several projects dealing with the assessment of highly automated driving functions. One of these is SePIA (scenario-based platform for the inspection of automated driving functions), which is funded by the European Union and in which a large number of Saxon project partners are on board.

The background of SePIA is, that vehicles with automated driving functions have to reach at least the driving abilities of an attentive human driver – and this over their entire lifetime. The main objective of SePIA is therefore to create a scenario platform with real driving scenarios derived from accident databases, accident reconstructions and Naturalistic Driving Studies (NDS). With the help of the platform, highly automated driving functions can then be assessed with regard to their functionality both during development and, for example, during a later general inspection. A special feature here is, that the scenarios presented should also be assessed with regard to their (objective) criticality and their representativeness for other regions / countries.

My field of application now lies primarily in the representativeness check. Together with the traffic accident research at the TU Dresden we want to develop a methodology with which we can determine the validity of the platform / the scenario catalogue for other areas and countries – a not trivial undertaking, since in the platform samples / data from most different surveys are brought together.