Apr 4, 2022
On 1.4.2022, the second amendment to the Austrian edict on automated driving (AutomatFahrV) was released. This includes five new use cases for testing and introduces new requirements to ensure the highest possible safety during testing.
The Federal Ministry for Climate Action, Environment, Energy, Mobility, Innovation and Technology (BMK) supports testing of automated driving on public roads with the edict on automated driving (AutomatFahrV). The requirements for testing automated mobility systems and services are constantly evolving. Along with this, the edict has now also been amended for a second time. The changes include additional use cases, the extension of the required safety standards and quality criteria, as well as a permitted maximum speed of 50 km/h in certain use cases.
With the release of the Austrian edict on automated driving in 2016, Austria has taken a new approach throughout Europe and focused testing on particularly important use cases. So far, testing was permitted for automated minibuses, motorway pilots with automated lane change and automated military vehicles. From now on, five additional use cases can be used for testing and piloting automated mobility systems:
This use case is intended for tests with automated vehicles that are based on vehicles that have already been type-approved before. Therefore - and in contrast to totally new vehicle concepts or prototypes - many requirements regarding active and passive safety are already covered. An example, where this use case will be considered, is the EU project SHOW, where automated vehicles will be deployed on public roads for transporting passengers to a shopping centre at the pilot site in Graz.
The amendment also introduces a use case specifically for freight transport. Here, the speed is limited to 30 km/h for tests with automated vehicles that have not been type-approved before and to 50 km/h for tests with automated vehicles that are based on type-approved vehicles. Thus, the use case is suitable for pilot activities with rather short distances, e.g. between different production sites or logistics centres. An EU project working on such a use case is AWARD, which will test automated operation between a logistics hub and a factory in Gunskirchen.
Until now, it was not possible to drive automatically on ramps and slip roads in the use case "motorway pilot with automated lane change". With the new use case, this will now be allowed for the first time for test purposes. However, a clearance from the road operator must be obtained for the respective slip roads and ramps.
This use case enables testing of automated parking, for example in multi-storey car parks. At speeds of up to 10 km/h, a person outside the vehicle can observe the driving manoeuvres in order to intervene if necessary. This form of valet parking is particularly interesting for sharing services and in combination with Park&Ride facilities, such as an example from Bosch shows.
The use of automated working machines has the potential to increase occupational safety. New concepts of automated working machines sometimes no longer include a driver's seat. This use case allows such machines to be tested without an operator on board and with a maximum speed of up to 10 km/h. Within the scope of this use case, automated mulching machines could for example be used for green strips along motorways.
The requirements for setting up test operations of automated mobility services are not harmonised within Europe. In Sweden, for example, a so-called "site acceptance test" must be carried out in advance. In Spain, on the other hand, an accredited technical inspection body must approve the driving system to ensure that it can handle certain predefined scenarios. From now on, in Austria, a specified route analysis and risk assessment of the route is required, which must be submitted with the test application. It is an additional building block to ensure safety in the course of testing automated vehicles on public roads:
The assessment of the risk potential of the route allows identifying sections of the route where risk-mitigating measures need to be set and to identify those sections that may not be suitable for testing automated vehicles at all. The on-site visit starts with an initial analysis of the route using a checklist. In the process, the local circumstances and surroundings are analysed. This also includes the identification of specific places such as schools or accident hotspots. In the next step, the route is divided into individual sections whenever relevant criteria are changing. These may include intersections, curves or a change in lane width. These individual sections are then assessed for their risk potential using a criteria catalogue. If it becomes apparent that the risk potential is too high in certain sections, the applicant can take appropriate mitigation measures to reduce the risk potential. Risk mitigation is possible with the following precautions or measures:
Working as an operator of automated vehicles that are operated for test purposes is related to certain qualifications that go beyond the qualifications connected with a normal driver's licence. Up to now, a valid training for the automated driving system and a training on the specific test vehicle were sufficient as confirmation. From now on, a proof that adequate familiarisation with the specific test case, including the specific local conditions, the respective test route, the planned driving manoeuvres, etc. has taken place must also be provided. In addition to the route analysis and risk assessment of the route, the obligatory proof of this familiarisation is a further building block to ensure safety during test drives.
Testing is not only important for technical development, but also to gain experience in realistic operation, to evaluate user acceptance, to design user-friendly systems or to test the integration of new services into existing ones. With the edict on automated driving, the first three use cases for testing purposes were defined in 2016. As early as 2019, the first amendment also created use cases for approved systems in series production that allow the steering wheel to be released under certain conditions. The current second amendment was based on the need for new test scenarios. In addition, the general requirements for safe testing were further refined. At the European level, the next steps towards the regular operation of fully automated vehicles in certain use cases are already being prepared: Currently, a draft of a new implementing regulation for Regulation (EU) 2019/2144 is being discussed, which will contain the processes and technical specifications for the type approval of fully automated vehicles. The next step is to define the framework conditions for operation, in particular for the approval of operational areas.
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