Open data fusion platform simplifies development of autonomous driving functions

March 26, 2019 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Open data fusion platform simplifies development of autonomous driving functions
A consortium from companies and research institutions has developed a near-series fusion platform with open interfaces (Open Fusion Platform, OFP). It enables automobile manufacturers and suppliers to cost-effectively integrate highly and fully automated driver assistance functions for automated driving.

Driver assistance systems such as traffic jam assistants that merge data from two sensors, are already in series production today. However, for fully automated driving, it is necessary for the vehicles to be able to perceive their entire surroundings. This requires the fusion of data from many sensors and cameras to create a complete environmental model that maps the environment with the required accuracy and on which the driving function can be reliably implemented. A challenge here are is the lack of standards for the interfaces between individual sensors and a central control unit. At present, interfaces of driver assistance systems are very function-specific and dependent on the respective supplier or automobile manufacturer. This is exactly where the research project started. The aim was to standardize and standardize the interfaces in order to facilitate sensor data fusion.

After three years, the research project has now been successfully completed with the integration of fully autonomous driving functions in three demonstration vehicles. In the implemented scenario, an electric vehicle drives fully automatically to a free charging station on a parking lot and positions itself above the charging pod. After the charging process has been completed, it automatically searches for a free parking space with no charging pod. "For such highly or fully automated scenarios, only prototypes that were not yet close to series production existed so far," says Michael Schilling, project manager for pre-development Automated Driving at Hella and network coordinator for the OFP project.

Four cameras and eight 77 GHz radar sensors, each of which covers the entire environment at 360° around the vehicle, served as input for the OFP in the project. An additional Vehicle-to-X-Communication module (V2X module) also enabled communication between vehicles and external infrastructure, such as the charging pods. The partners in the project jointly disclosed the interface descriptions of the individual components in a freely available "Interface Specification". During the project, an ISO standardization process for the sensor data interfaces was started by the research association together with other leading automobile manufacturers and suppliers.

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