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Enhancing automotive safety, reliability with SafeAdapt

21 Mar 2016  | Gereon Weiss

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Since the control units operate on a common time basis, appropriate synchronisation and real-time mechanisms must be available, which can be enabled via time-triggered Ethernet or time-sensitive networking as an example.

The Safe Adaptation Platform Core (SAPC) is built on this basis. This mechanism decides which configuration is established when a fault occurs. Only single faults in the system are considered as usual. The same concept also applies to energy optimisation. That means the SAPC can activate one of the energy-efficient configurations that is adapted to the situation. The SAPC is a software program developed for use with different operating systems on various hardware platforms. It's executed on all core platforms and creates a new local configuration after recognising the need to adapt after an error condition arises. To do this, each core platform periodically shares so-called health vectors with all other platforms. They contain information about the status of the core platform, including currently running applications. Since all core platforms receive this status information from all others on a regular basis, each one is capable of decentrally determining the overall system status. If a core platform fails for example, the other platforms recognise the situation based on the missing health vectors and activate a local configuration predefined for this particular error condition. Because the system maintains redundant real-time communication paths, the assumption is that no single error can cause the disappearance of a health vector. Instead, the assumption is that the fault is related to the corresponding core platform.

The SAPC thus allows the system to reliably shift functions from a faulty component to a working component to ensure continuous vehicle operation. To make this work, the SAPC is designed as an AUTOSAR component in the so-called ARXML format. This creates a condition in which the SAPC can run without having to adapt to various ECUs with different hardware. That means only the corresponding AUTOSAR-compliant interface has to be implemented on the platforms in order to utilise the SAPC.

Project goal: testing on real vehicle
The project will conclude by evaluating and analysing the new process on demonstrators. Particular attention will be paid to ISO26262, the standard for functional vehicle safety. A concrete goal of the project is the development of an e-vehicle prototype for demonstrating usability and ease-of-integration with heterogeneous technology and real-time Ethernet communication. For this purpose, a sports car from automotive manufacturer Roding—equipped with the Siemens RACE E/E architecture—will be enhanced with technologies from the SafeAdapt partners. Specifically, a RACE ECU and the TrustedMulti-Domain Platform from Delphi will be connected via TT-Ethernet. The same SAPC will be integrated into both platforms, thus enabling fail-operational steering using the fault management approach described above.

Furthermore, the Dynacar driving simulator from Tecnalia will serve as a virtual test environment. That means the SafeAdapt technologies will also be integrated into the simulator in order to demonstrate an energy efficiency application. If less battery capacity is available after a certain distance for instance, the system can independently deactivate non-safety critical functions such as comfort and convenience features. The driver-in-the-loop simulator can also be used to evaluate the impact of adaptive safety mechanisms on the handling characteristics of the vehicle. This has an impact on issues such as the maximum duration of the steer-by-wire adaptation so that the driver can keep the vehicle under control.

Fraunhofer ESK is researching how the SafeAdapt approach can be used in an E/E architecture with conventional AUTOSAR platforms. Using a model vehicle, researchers are examining the fail-operational capability of critical driving functions in an AUTOSAR system.

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