“There is nothing in the field of ADAS that is inconceivable in the future”

Interview with Martin Sevenich of Continental

Martin Sevenich already knows part of the future. During pre-development, vehicle functions are tested that won’t be ready for series production for several years. We sat down with Mr. Sevenich to talk about different applications, the technical implementation of studies with test participants in the fields of driver assistance and automated driving, as well as the significance of these tests for the future.


What is the advantage of virtual testing on the computer?

It offers us the chance to test different functions in a safe environment and validate the function code with ideal sensors in an ideal environment as a first step. Here, we can quickly switch from A to B in various scenarios with the vehicle. Thanks to different map materials, we can switch from a two-lane to a three-lane highway which would be impossible in reality. An on-the-fly change from winter to summer testing is also possible in the simulator. To sum up the biggest advantage: It is possible to reproducibly repeat different scenarios several times without any problem.

How will the share of tests of simple advanced driver assistance systems up to complex systems evolve in your opinion?

The test effort will rise significantly along with the increase in functions. Especially with regard to complex systems, there will be a considerable rise. A shift of test activities from the test bench and the vehicle to the simulation is evident and will continue to increase. Here, the interaction between the driver and the assistance function is steadily gaining in importance with the result that driving simulators have made a significant contribution to this in recent years.

In your opinion, how will the number of tests (and of test cases) conducted in the simulator rise with regard to the entire development chain?

It is already rising significantly. Compared to 2012, we now increasingly rely on simulation. It is difficult to predict how this will develop but I anticipate a rapid growth.

In terms of release processes, the car is still the one that needs to prove itself in real traffic. The last release will continue to take place in the vehicle in the future; however, the findings gained through simulation will be taken into account.

What big challenges do you see for simulation?

The ability to simulate complex scenarios in real time must be given. Both sensor models and graphics must simultaneously deliver speed as well as performance in order to continue increasing the level of realism. A specific example: An ideal line marking for measuring distance on the highway is applied every 6 meters in theory, which would be easy to test. However, in reality the distance is 6 meters. There are certain deviations and this is precisely what tools such as CarMaker need to be able to model. New bus protocols should be mentioned here as well since they present new challenges to the architecture of a HIL system. The now common CAN protocol is already close to being outdated. In this field, automotive Ethernet is the future.

What challenges do you see in terms of test drives for automated driving?

Essentially, everything has become much more complex. Previously, you had one control unit with one function. Nowadays, there is a large number of control units with different functions that interact with each other as well. For the evaluation of the systems, different, highly detailed and more complex test technology is also required. Due to this, not all tests of automated driving functions can be conducted in vehicle tests any longer.

The challenges arising from this cannot be fully estimated yet. There will be changes to the evaluation methodology toward simulation and possibly sooner than we expect.

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Martin Sevenich, responsible for the department Simulation Methods – Vehicle Test, part of Systems & Technology in the Chassis & Safety division at Continental, believes that a shift of test activities from the test bench and the vehicle to the simulation is evident and will continue to increase.