street car LiDAR field of view from street lamp

Testing autonomous driving functions safely with smart infrastructure

Blickfeld participates in the research project “IN2Lab” led by the Ingolstadt University of Technology

LiDAR manufacturer Blickfeld is a project partner in the IN2Lab research project, led by Ingolstadt University of Technology (THI) and funded by the Bavarian Collaborative Research Programme (BayVFP). The three-year research project aims to develop a safety system that enables the testing of automated driving functions in the real-life environment.

Automated driving functions are tested by driving autonomous vehicles for thousands of virtual and real kilometers. These real traffic tests are essential to gain experience with edge cases, i.e. unknown and spontaneous situations. To enable testing in live traffic, the research project IN2Lab is setting up a test track for autonomous vehicles with additional safety features which consist of observing traffic events on the road infrastructure. This means that the vehicle’s environment and autonomous driving maneuvers are monitored using sensors, communication modules, and other IT tools integrated into the infrastructure. The test track will be set up on a road section connecting the Ingolstadt-Süd highway junction with the future IN-Campus technology park. The 1.7-kilometer-long track includes roundabouts, bus stops, bicycle lanes, traffic lights, and parking spaces, thus encompassing almost all real traffic situations.

Blickfeld is responsible for the environment perception sensors integrated into the infrastructure. For this purpose, the Munich-based start-up is further developing its LiDAR sensors to meet the project requirements. This includes interface aspects as well as data transfer and communication processes with the specially installed control center.

“In vehicles with automated driving functions, it is essential to create redundancies,” explains Blickfeld founder Dr. sc. Florian Petit. “What is meant by this is not just relying on one sensor modality for environment detection, but rather installing different types of sensors in the vehicles. For testing automated driving functions, the IN2Lab research project even goes one step further; it tests the vehicles in real traffic without endangering road users’ situation by also recording externally from the road infrastructure.”

In addition to Blickfeld, the companies Audi, the Car.Software organization, Continental, Savari, and the newly founded Fraunhofer Application Center for Networked Mobility and Infrastructure (VMI) are also involved in the research project. The project is led by THI research professors Andreas Festag, Ondrej Vaculin, and Gordon Elger.

“We are pleased to be able to contribute to the safeguarding of autonomous test drives in such a strong team and look forward to the next three years,” says Florian Petit.



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