Software for autonomous vehicles looks into the future : Page 2 of 2

September 15, 2020 //By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Software for autonomous vehicles looks into the future
A software for autonomous vehicles avoids accidents by computing multiple variants of a traffic situation in advance every couple of milliseconds and thus predicting probabilities.

Such a detailed prognosis of the traffic situation was previously considered too complex and therefore not practicable. The Munich research team has now been able to show not only that real-time data evaluation and simultaneous simulation of the future traffic situation is theoretically possible, but also that it can provide reliable results.

The rapid calculations are made possible by simplified dynamic models. In the so-called accessibility analysis, it is calculated which positions a car or a pedestrian, for example, could take in the future. However, if all the characteristics of the road users are taken into account, the calculation is complex; the research team therefore works with simplified models. These are mathematically easier to capture. For example, the greater freedom of movement allows them to assume more possible positions - which at the same time includes the positions that are expected for real road users.

For the evaluation, the computer scientists created a virtual model based on real data, collected during test drives with an autonomous vehicle. In this way, a test environment was created that reflects everyday traffic scenarios. "With the help of the simulations, we were able to show that the safety module does not lead to any loss of performance in driving behaviour, that the forecast calculations are correct, that accidents are prevented and that the vehicle is demonstrably stopped safely in an emergency," concludes Althoff.

The new safety software can facilitate the development of autonomous vehicles because it can be combined with all current programs for motion control, the computer scientist emphasises.

The team's research was funded by BMW’s CAR@TUM project, the Ko-HAF project of the Federal Ministry of Economics and Energy and the German Research Foundation DFG.

More information: https://www.in.tum.de/i06/people/prof-dr-ing-matthias-althoff/

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