Safe autonomous driving in automation zones with a minimum speed of 20 km/h

Safe autonomous driving on yards (e.g. distribution centres, factory premises, ports and airports) will become increasingly important in the coming years and play a major economic role. The technical feasibility has already been demonstrated in individual applications. However, a holistic safety concept coordinated with the permitting authorities is still missing for a regular operation that guarantees efficient and economic processes.

The research project SAFE20 aims to develop and implement a safety concept that allows regular operation of fully automated vehicles in depots at a minimum speed of 20 km/h in mixed mode for the first time.  Since October 2020, AlbrechtConsult has been supporting the project consortium in project management, broadening its comprehensive expertise in the field of automated driving.

As a result, legally sound, safety-oriented requirements for the overall system will be developed, including vehicles and a yard automation zone, as well as the required technologies (e.g. sensors, actuators, control units, software and algorithms). The innovative approach of the project lies in the fact that the safety concept does not consider autonomous vehicles as isolated entities. Instead, a so-called automation zone is set up within the depot and actively included as a new degree of freedom for safety functions by collecting safety-enhancing information and making it available to the vehicles in real-time.

The resulting safety concept will be implemented extensively during the project, validated in continuous operation under real conditions with up to three vehicles, and further developed based on the experience gained. In addition, technological gaps (sensors, algorithms, digital real-time images of the automation zone, etc.) will be closed. Thus, the project’s goals go beyond mere technology demonstration.

If the ambitious objectives of the project are achieved, this will have a significant catalytic effect on the commercialisation of autonomous commercial vehicles.

The project consortium consists of the following companies: