A consortium of 16 automobile manufacturers, automotive suppliers and public partners has launched the Ko-HAF (Kooperatives hochautomatisiertes Fahren, Cooperative Highly Automated Driving) project in Germany. Ko-HAF, which is targeting highly automated driving at higher speeds, has a total budget of €36.3 million (US$40 million) and is expected to run until November 2018.
Ko-HAF is supported by Germany’s Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi) as the first project within the framework of its new program “New Vehicle and System Technologies”.
The aim of the project is to research new systems and functions permitting highly automated driving at higher speeds and in more complex situations. During highly automated driving, the driver no longer has to monitor the systems permanently and can instead leave the chore of driving to the vehicle for a certain time, freeing up time to read or write e-mails, for example.
However, the driver has to be able to take over the driving task within a certain time. For the time that the driver needs to do so, the vehicle must correctly assess its surroundings and the traffic situation. This is a particular challenge at higher speeds and in more complex scenarios and is one of the tasks Ko-HAF is investigating.
The starting point is a backend solution in which the vehicles communicate with one another via a server, aided by mobile radio (LTE/UMTS). The server collates and evaluates information about the vehicle surroundings, and makes it available to the vehicles in a consistent form. This method of forward-looking driving is necessary for high automation in more complex situations.
The project is being coordinated by international automotive supplier Continental. Continental is involved in a variety of Ko-HAF work packages with engineers from its Chassis & Safety and Interior Divisions. For example, Continental is involved in the design of interfaces for a cross-company exchange of information on surroundings and location via the server and to visualize the relative and absolute position of the vehicle (precise position within the lane).
The research initiative takes us a major step forward in the direction of automated driving, with road safety at the highest level being its essential basis. Ko-HAF researches not only the involvement of the driver in highly automated driving, but also cross-partner functions and communication between the highly automated vehicles.—Dr. Stefan Lüke, Ko-HAF Project Coordinator, and responsible for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems & Automation in the Advanced Engineering department in Continental’s Chassis & Safety Division
Continental builds on its “Motion Information to X Provider” (M2XPro) concept for the networking of dynamics sensors with Global Navigation Satellite System (GNSS) information complemented with recognized landmarks. A further focus of research for Continental is on new system functions that play an important role in the cooperative interaction of vehicles.
This focus is on lane changing, safe following distances and driving maneuvers at the end of lanes. In addition, testing equipment and validation methods for automated driving are being developed, which for example work on the basis of simulations. Continental is also planning to incorporate vehicles into the project, to test their communications and driving functions and to devise testing methods.
Audi and BMW are also participating in Ko‑HAF in all subject areas within the research initiative. These include:
development of precise street models as the basis for digital maps;
localization of cars via digital maps and environmental features using the data from the environmental sensors;
concepts to allow the driver to safely take control of the driving;
highly automated reaction to disruptions in traffic; and
anticipatory automated driving for optimized traffic flow, more comfort and increased road safety.