European project integrates sensors for safer cars

As automotive safety systems become more complex, the risk of failure increases. But European researchers believe they have found a way to improve dependability.

An Integrated Safety System (ISSs) is the objective of the EU-funded project EASIS. In the past, a wheel speed sensor would be tied to the ABS braking system, but under ISS all components are part of a network, so they are available for a host of other applications, like ensuring a car or truck is observing local speed limits.

This integration reduces development time and the costs of a new application. But ISS can also improve dependability by designing it into in-car infrastructure from the start, claimed EASIS researchers.

“The problem is that there are a lot of safety systems, but they are standalone, so in the future we will have to combine them,” said Dr Vera Lauer, coordinator of EASIS. “We had to collect requirements from the different applications and domains, and to combine them into an integrated safety system.”

Such problems included fitting software and its services to requirements, using cost-efficient hardware solutions on the engine control unit (ECU) level, and identifying the appropriate processes and tools to develop these systems. There were two specific architectures to address: software and hardware.

“The development partnership AUTOSAR, is dealing with the standardisation of software architecture for automotive applications, so we aligned ourselves to their work, concentrating on safety services,” explained Lauer.

The team verified their results in two demonstrators. In one, they showed the effectiveness of a firewall they developed for telematics systems.

“A lot of emerging safety systems will involve in-car communications and telematics either with GPS or other cars via Wifi,” said Lauer. “It is vital that the safety of the car cannot be compromised by malicious communication."

The project also demonstrated overall system dependability using a hardware simulator, called hardware-in-loop (or HIL), with integrated retarder a type of hydraulic brake or intarder.

“We kept in close contact with other major European car safety initiatives like PReVENT, AIDE and others,” said Lauer. “It was very successful. We have made a big step towards a working ISS infrastructure for cars.”

Image: The aim of EASIS is to improve automotive dependability

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