IAMTS Newsletter #1-2022
The International Alliance for Mobility Testing and Standardization (IAMTS) is one of the most interesting consortia of SAE ITC. Let me explain what it is all about. The world of automotive transportation is changing. The time when we were able to do every repair of the car at home is gone. The automotive industry is currently going through the largest transition phase since the invention of the car. The development is driven by digitalization and electrification. In the aviation industry we used to say that the airplane is a flying computer, for cars we can say that cars are driving computers. The car manufacturers are producing new models almost every year and millions of those cars are driving around. All models are constantly evolving. There are constant software and hardware changes to improve the cars and make them perform better. There is a natural need to keep an eye on one very important challenge: The highest level of safety must be guaranteed on the roads. Car manufacturers are doing great a job about it but there is obviously a need for some standardization. IAMTS provides the neutral platform to fix the industry need for regulations and standardization at least for testing and harmonization on a global level. So, if somebody asks why IAMTS exists? That’s why!
IAMTS is organizing virtual working groups which used to be face to face before pandemic. How is that environment set up? There are different categories of members such as: Strategic members (8), Core members (3), Base members (12), Academic partners (5) and Junior members (5). If you are present in the room when discussion about procedures, standardization and regulation is taking place you can have a say and influence in the subject. If you are not there, you can only accept the outcome and follow the designed procedure-standard-regulation if you like it or not. Therefore, it is important to be a member and to be there where those discussions are taking place. Let me assure you that the best engineers in the industry are part of the IAMTS working groups. There is also one big advantage if you are attending the meetings and if you are the member. That is possibly the biggest advantage. You as an engineer will become an expert in the subject field. Vehicle safety is a primary concern to be considered in the development of cars, more than 1 million people are killed per year on the road and more than 20 million per year are seriously impacted by road traffic injuries. There is also one more important thing: If you do not understand the latest standards and regulations, you probably will have difficulties to pass certification and type approval which leads to delayed time-to-market for your products. Looking at all of the above, it can be concluded that we are in very serious business.
Let me mention which working groups are active at this moment. Those working groups are focused on 4 important problems which, when solved, can increase safety.
- Test scenarios: A test scenario is defined as any functionality that can be tested. It is also called Test Condition or Test Possibility. As a tester, you should put yourself in the end user’s shoes and figure out the real-world scenarios and use cases of the Application Under Test. Modern vehicles can operate semi autonomously or autonomously. The challenge is to develop scenarios which can check the vehicle in predefined conditions. Scenarios help in an easier way to test and evaluate the end-to-end complicated problems. Creating good Test Scenarios ensures complete Test Coverage.
- Testbeds is the name for working group for test setup which can consist of test equipment, test software, interface, and unit under test. Unit under test is the vehicle. Good, designed testbed can assure the stability and repeatability of the testing. Needless to say that more complicated vehicles can have extremely complicated and expensive test setups (testbed).
- Virtual validation: Testing vehicles for Level 4 and 5 requires a new approach because the responsibility to control the vehicle is in the hands of a computer. To simulate a specific virtual environment, it is important to design the virtual image of a real-world environment such as roads or buildings in sufficient precision. The testing of the vehicle is then done in a virtual 3D world. Because it is impossible to accumulate sufficient physical test miles in a vehicle prototype on a real road, the virtual system should demonstrate that the failure rate is statistically in the magnitude or lower than human failure rate (which equals to 1.06 per 100 million miles). In the virtual world it is possible to repeat the test as many times as needed. It is fast and cost effective.
- Cyber security: This is a hot topic in almost every industry where software is used. The IAMTS working group is defining the rules and regulations to protect the vehicle from cyber-attacks.
Even if you master those 4 areas with great precision, man can be sure that this is not the end of the story. In the modern automotive environment, which is rapidly changing, you can never say that the work is done. The industry is evaluating, vehicles are improving all the time and all 4 of described areas must be in sync with the developments. That makes it so challenging and exciting.
The latest development within IAMTS is the Study Group 5: Certification of HAV over the whole lifecycle. The study group will as expected evaluate in Working Group 5.
One thing is sure if you are attending IAMTS meetings and working groups, you are at the front line of the development of new testing technologies/procedures/standards and push to global harmonization. We already conclude that that the vehicles, testing methods and regulations are evolving and simultaneously your knowledge as a member of IAMTS is growing and evolving. That is perhaps the biggest reason why it is important to be the IAMTS member and if you are not, to become the member.
Finally, there is one more challenge. IAMTS is a neutral platform, which is good. But it would be a good addition to have a few of the car manufacturers on board. It would be good for everyone and good for safety improvement. That is proven to work in the aerospace industry where airframers, suppliers and operators work together to design the standards, procedures, and guidelines. It works very well. There is no reason that in the automotive industry the concept will not work. It is just a matter of will. Eventually, sooner or later that will happen. Just wait and see.