Learning About Assistance Systems in Bavaria

ETAS supports the “A drive living lab” at Kempten University of Applied Sciences

By establishing the world’s only master’s degree course in driver assistance systems, Kempten University has pulled off a coup. Students from all over the world are lining up to get involved, as are OEMs and suppliers eager to tap into the research at the new “A drive living lab.” In an interview, coordinator Prof. Stefan-Alexander Schneider explains what the lab is all about and which role ETAS and ETAS ISOLAR-EVE play in it.

Interviewee: Prof. Dr. Stefan-Alexander Schneider is Head of the master’s degree course in driver assistance systems at University of Applied Sciences in Kempten.

ETAS: Allgäu, autonomous driving, and assistance systems – how do they go together?

Prof. Schneider: Here at Kempten University, we offer the world’s only master’s degree course in driver assistance systems, which draws on the experience of 15 professors from three faculties. The leading role is played by my Chair of Autonomous Driving and Assistance Systems, which Continental endowed for five years at the end of 2013. In the industry, there is a big demand for system engineers who know how to develop assistance systems. We have been training these engineers since 2014. University applicants from all over the world are knocking down our doors looking for a place. In order to maximize the practical utility of our training, we opened our “A drive living lab.”

ETAS: What is the lab for?

Prof. Schneider: Over an area of 500 m², we are recreating the entire value creation chain for assistance system development in order to teach our students the requisite processes, methods, and tools under pre-development conditions. Naturally, it is also about analyzing and optimizing development processes. Electrical engineering, mechanical engineering, and IT are involved, all working closely together and each contributing their specific expertise.

ETAS: What does the “A” in “A drive living lab” stand for?

Prof. Schneider: Allgäu, assistance systems, and autonomous driving – just like you said at the beginning. But it could just as well have been called the “V Lab,” as the design of our laboratory is based on the V-Model used in software and system development. Measuring 50 x 10 meters, the workshop is shaped like an elongated V: from the requirements analysis and the functional and system specification through to the various validation measures, all steps are lined up as stations. This means that, from the outset, the students learn and carry out research in an environment that resembles real industrial conditions – all in one place. ETAS helps here by providing us with professional tools, including ISOLAR-EVE for the generation of virtual ECUs, the Hardware-in-the-Loop system ETAS LABCAR, and the open source software BUSMASTER. In this way, our students familiarize themselves with the tool chains they will later use in their industrial careers.

ETAS: What applications do you envision for the virtual ECUs?

Prof. Schneider: Well, one thing we want to do is to connect ECUs from different domains. For driver assistance systems, the interplay of powertrain and chassis ECUs with sensor systems for environment recognition and monitoring is important. A key factor is the cosimulation of camera, radar, or lidar systems with virtual ECUs, or in a virtual ECU network. It’s about gaining a deeper understanding of the interaction of these systems, about real-time data communication in the vehicle, and ultimately also about the communication between vehicles and infrastructure. Virtualization is very helpful here. And naturally we also have to further advance our current development methods. The trend is to develop agile software that allows additional functions to be installed at a later date. However, for all the flexibility required, these functions still have to be properly validated and verified. These topics are of vital concern for the industry. This is reflected in the fact that several OEMs and Tier 1 and Tier 2 suppliers jumped on board with the “a drive living lab“ immediately after it had been founded. In the next few months, the complete infrastructure will be in place. Then we’ll be able to really get going.

ISOLAR-EVE for the virtualization of ADAS ECUs

The ISOLAR-EVE tool is particularly well-suited for the virtualization of ADAS ECUs, as it takes all components of the ECU architecture into account and is therefore able to simulate the behavior of the real ECU very realistically on the PC. The virtualization incorporates both the application software and the real basic software, including a complete AUTOSAR operating system. It also realistically models multi-core configurations and displays heterogeneous architectures consisting of microcontrollers and microprocessors. In this way, the tool provides optimum support for simulations of multiple connected ECUs and their communication.