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17th Open Auto Drive Forum shows trends and developments in autonomous driving

5. July 2022

A future of mobility without autonomous driving? Unimaginable! 2021 Germany became one of the first countries to pass a law granting autonomous vehicles permission for mainstream operation, and last month the German Bundesrat approved new operating and registration rules for autonomous vehicles. However, there are still many hurdles to overcome before autonomous vehicles will be the norm on our roads, nationally as well as globally. At the Open Auto Drive Forum event in May 2022, global representatives from industry, research and politics met to discuss standardized rules and specifications that will push autonomous driving for future-proof, safe and reliable mobility. 

The 17th edition of the Open Auto Drive Forum was the first OADF event in nearly three years where participants met not only online, but also on-site. This was met with a high level of interest, with around 30 participants in Frankfurt and a further 130 people attending the meeting remotely. The hybrid event was opened and moderated by OADF speaker and co-chair of SENSORIS, Andras Csepinszky from NNG.

Topics at the 17th OADF included C-ITS, HD map applications, ODD for automated driving systems and the CCAM partnership program.
Image source: Unsplash

Highlights of the 17th OADF at a glance

In addition to members’ reports and plans on autonomous driving, the event included four keynote presentations on the topics of Cooperative Intelligent Transport Systems (C-ITS), high definition map applications, Operation Design Domains (ODD) for automated driving systems as well as the Connected Cooperative and Automated Mobility (CCAM) partnership program.

The first keynote was held by Suku Phull from the UK Department for Transport. He explained the role of the digital twin in the provision of C-ITS services, which can be seen as a promising approach to improving road safety and congestion statistics. Furthermore, Phull reported on the complexity of traffic regulation order processes in the UK and presented elements of a digital transport infrastructure and the potential use cases.

Chris Thibodeau, CEO of Ushr, shared the mission of the Digital Map Platform (DMP) to provide an HD data platform that maps the world. He explained the great potential that HD mapping offers in the mobility, supply chain, entertainment and infrastructure sectors. Furthermore, he provided insights into the creation of custom HD map databases and Ushr’s ADM e-Horizon software.

Siddartha Khastgir, Head of Verification and Validation, Intelligent Vehicles at WMG, an academic department within the Faculty of Science at the University of Warwick, explained the need for an Operational Design Domain (ODD). Siddartha described operating conditions under which AD functions should specifically operate. Using the example of Automated Lane Keeping System (ALKS), he illustrated the interaction between the ODD and an AD application, as well as the role of HD maps and traffic management systems in the ODD and the role of infrastructure. Furthermore, he gave tips when working on an ODD, such as paying attention to the consistency between map standards and ODD attributes. He concluded his presentation with a reference to the Traffic Management for Connected and Automated Driving (TM4CAD) project.

The last keynote of the day was delivered by Torsten Geissler from the Federal Highway Research Institute in Germany (BASt) who reported on the Connected Cooperative and Automated Mobility (CCAM) partnership. This program aims, among other things, at safe and trustworthy interaction between road users, vehicles, infrastructure and services, as well as improved synergies between public and private investment plans to further develop vehicle and infrastructure technologies. The partnership is planned in three phases until 2030. Phase 1, running from 2021 to 2024, will develop the key building blocks in terms of vehicle and infrastructure technologies, key components, methods to engage users and citizens, and methods to validate safe system operation. In this framework, Thorsten Geissler gave specific insights into the integration of the vehicle into the traffic system.

Following tradition, the various standardization organizations provided information on their latest activities and developments in the field of automated driving:

Satoru Nakajo from the University of Tokyo reported on SIP-adus with a focus in the Field Operational Test (FOT) 2021, which is now completed, and the use of ADASIS in the FOT. Martin Schleicher from Elektrobit and Chairman of the NDS Association spoke about the recent progress on the NDS.Live specification, which is now open for evaluation, while András Csepinszky of NNG reported on the achievements of SENSORIS and on collaboration with related activities such as OADF.

Benjamin Engel of ASAM discussed the challenges in developing OpenDRIVE to provide realistic representations of real-world data at a larger scale and how these are being addressed.

Jean-Charles Pandazis of ERTICO reported on ADASIS v3.2, which was released internally, and on the planning of ADASIS v3.3. 

Matthias Unbehaun from TISA provided information on the progress of TPEG3 development and AD use cases guiding the development.

On-site participants came together for a subsequent workshop.
Image source: Pexels

Extended on-site workshops

In the second part of the event the on-site attendees were invited to participate in two workshops one about map safety and the other about the OADF ecosystem.

The workshop about map safety was moderated by Steffen Kuhn from Elektrobit, who started by presenting the basic terms related to reliable and secure HD cards. He then explained the elements involved in creating, updating, and using maps, and highlighted where and how threats to secure and reliable maps can arise. In this context, map security is mainly dependent on map inaccuracy, localization errors, reality changes, map data errors, and map update interruptions. Using map data errors as an example, he explained the different areas that can lead to such errors, including data acquisition, map production, transmission, and usage.

At the end of the event, Andras Csepinszky and Matthias Unbehaun spoke about the OADF ecosystem. Csepinszky first presented a proposal for an architecture for self-driving cars, ISAD (Infrastructure Supporting Automated Driving), as designed in the EU project INFRAMIX, and the role of ODD, including technological enablers, to fill ODD gaps as addressed in the EU project Hi-Drive. He also talked about the history, evolution, and status of the OAF ecosystem work that began in 2015, as well as OADF member organizations and related activities. Matthias Unbehaun closed the presentation with a review of the last workshop in September 2020, which included a SWOT analysis of the OADF and its ecosystem as well as a discussion on proof points in practice and aligning standards for interoperability and avoiding overlap.

Another OADF event is planned for 2022, the date will be announced soon.

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