CERTUS project aims to enable cheaper and safer vehicle automation systems


Horiba MIRA and four expert project partners (Polestar, IPG Automotive, Connected Places Catapult and Coventry University) have announced they are collaborating with the aim of developing better and safer automated driving technologies.

Since the advent of basic forms of driver aids in the 1970s, the development of automated driving systems has grown exponentially to encompass increasing functionality, from automated emergency braking to driverless solutions. But as this growth in automation has increased, the complexity, time and cost of proving these systems has grown at an equivalent rate.

In a 2021 report by McKinsey & Company, analysis shows that a third of the development costs to bring a Level 4 car to market – up to US$400 million – is spent in the verifying automated systems. For more complex use cases such as a Level 4 robotaxi, equivalent testing could cost US$1.6 billion and account for 50% of the overall vehicle development costs.

CERTUS, a project funded in part by public monies from CCAV (the Centre for Connected and Autonomous Vehicles, a UK Government department) aims to break this link between the growth in complexity of automated driving systems and the speed and cost of verifying the technology as fit for use on all representative aspects of the public highway.

A radically different approach to testing

With limitless potential driving scenarios that may challenge these new technologies, CERTUS has taken a radically different approach to testing. While traditional methods involve clocking up millions of miles with the aim of validating systems in all circumstances, CERTUS will use AI-driven search space optimisation techniques to deliver a substantial reduction in testing time and resulting engineering verification and validation costs, by targeting the scenarios most likely to challenge the operation of automated systems.

By virtue of clearly defining all parameters in which the new driving systems will be tested, the results can be accurately mapped across the entire UK road network to define where systems will function. This geo-mapping of where new technologies can be safely used will close an information ‘black hole’ for users, fleet operators, government agencies and insurers, to help accelerate the rollout of automated driving technology.

The Highway section of Horiba MIRA’s Assured CAV facility features a 15 lane-wide central approach road

Project partner roles

The project has set an ambitious aim of reducing the cost of testing automated driving systems by 40% and reducing the testing costs per vehicle model by an average of £200 million; critical to delivering this benefit is the contribution of Swedish performance EV brand, Polestar, based at Horiba MIRA’s facilities in England, as a leading OEM developing a multiplicity of automated driving technologies.

IPG Automotive will provide its virtual CarMaker software platform for the project’s simulation capability; Connected Places Catapult will provide the UK road network data to contextualise where the automated systems could operate, and Coventry University will manage the project’s interface with government and advance academic research of the results from CERTUS.

As the project lead, Horiba MIRA will take responsibility for the development of the tools and algorithms required to design the most efficient way to evaluate the automated driving system, including a mixed-reality platform that will combine the physical test and virtual scenario modelling.

The project commenced in Q3 2023 and is due to conclude in March 2025, with the aim of positioning the UK as a key destination for developing connected and increasingly autonomous vehicles across the global automotive industry.

Declan Allen, Horiba MIRA’s Managing Director said of the project, “CERTUS delivers an approach that will not just save car makers money, but will also accelerate the deployment of automated driving technology, aiding regulators, insurers and consumers with the adoption of these technologies. CERTUS aims to revolutionise how the increasing array of automated driving technologies are tested and validated for the market by vehicle manufacturers, helping to build confidence in the real-world performance of these systems.

“Through reducing the time taken to validate these systems by 40%, CERTUS will significantly reduce the most risky, timely and costly part of the automotive design process. Project partners will integrate many tools, including scenario coverage techniques, statistical sampling and performance analysis across physical and simulated environments to deliver an advanced toolset to match the quickly evolving vehicle technology in this area,” he added.

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About Author

Adam divides his time as an editor between the worlds of aviation and motoring. These worlds may seem a little diverse today, but autonomous technology and future urban mobility is bringing them ever-closer. Adam is also chairman of the Vehicle Dynamics International Awards.

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