Embedded World: Fraunhofer ESK demonstrates development of a fault-tolerant electronics system for the automobiles of the future

Press Release / 8.2.2016

Munich, February 08, 2016 – Highly-automated driving presumes that vehicles can rectify problems on their own until the driver is able to intervene. It also requires an electronics system that can guarantee the fault tolerance of critical functions. At the Embedded World being held in Nürnberg from February 23 to 25, Fraunhofer ESK will be demonstrating how this can be achieved through enhancements to the current AUTOSAR standard. ESK researchers will also introduce a tool for developing such automotive electronics systems (hall 4 / exhibit booth 460).

© Fraunhofer ESK

Fraunhofer ESK shows how a fail-operational E/E architecture can be implemented with current AUTOSAR conventional platforms using a steer-by-wire application. The exhibit consists of an ECU-equipped model vehicle linked to a driving simulator to demonstrate an outage scenario.

© Fraunhofer ESK

If an electronic control unit (ECU) fails in a highly-automated automobile, the vehicle must react on its own until the driver intervenes and takes over the driving again. Until that happens, the automobile must more or less continue to drive itself for several seconds. From a safety point of view, that essentially means the system must be fault-tolerant - or what industry professionals refer to as fail-operational.

In this case, fault tolerance in the automotive electronics systems means the guaranteed availability of critical functions. Simple deactivation is no longer sufficient. In turn this means that the E/E (electric/electronics) architecture must be in a position to compensate for errors to a certain degree. However, this has to be applied to the entire system and not for each individual function, such as the steering and braking. The reasons lie on the one hand in better managing the complexity, and on the other in the overall lower costs that result from a system-wide approach to managing the numerous critical functions in the vehicle.

As part of the SafeAdapt project funded by the EU, researchers examined various methods and solutions for implementing fail-operational E/E architectures. Fraunhofer ESK made it possible to develop such architectures so that they can be implemented with different ECUs and heterogeneous technologies. This was accomplished by integrating ESK's development tools into a toolchain that conforms to the AUTOSAR standard. As a result, ESK researchers enabled the system to automatically create a fail-operational configuration and automatically generate the ECU software. Fraunhofer ESK is thus demonstrating for the first time an AUTOSAR-compatible solution for future E/E networks with fail-operational behavior, such as what is required to support future degrees of automation.

Driving simulator exhibit at the Embedded World

Fraunhofer ESK is demonstrating how such a fail-operational architecture can be realized with current AUTOSAR conventional platforms using a steer-by-wire scenario. More precisely, the Embedded World exhibit shows how the development runs and how the system works, thus demonstrating that the steering functionality is guaranteed while the vehicle is being operated. The focus of the exhibit is an ECU-equipped model vehicle linked to a driving simulator to illustrate an outage scenario.

The exhibit was developed as part of the SafeAdapt project funded by the EU. The goal of the project is the development of a fail-operational E/E architecture for future vehicles, as well as the construction of a test car and driver-in-the-loop driving simulator. The initial evaluation results will be available by the middle of the year. SafeAdapt is a three-year project that is slated for completion at the end of 2016. Apart from Fraunhofer ESK, the project partners include CEA LIST (France), Delphi (Germany), DuraCar (Netherlands), Fico Mirrors (Spain), Tecnalia Research & Innovation (Spain), Pininfarina (Italy), Siemens (Germany) and TTTech Computertechnik (Austria).

Fraunhofer Joint Exhibit Booth: hall 4 / exhibit booth 460