Consortium develops Digital Loop to speed up vehicle software homologation

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Kontrol, dSpace,, TÜV Süd, Microsoft Germany, T-Systems and Berylls are developing a new digital solution – Digital Loop – for the approval of updates for software-defined vehicles via a mobile network. The group’s latest concept will make its public debut at IAA Mobility in Munich, Germany, September 4-8, 2023.

Before a new vehicle type with automated driving functions can be brought to the EU market, the vehicle must undergo a wide variety of road testing for validation under different environmental conditions. With software becoming a major part of new vehicles, homologation is now also mandatory for certain software updates. At present, integration of over-the-air (OTA) software updates is subject to homologation – even new functions into fully and partially automated vehicles. The processes involved, however, are not time efficient due to the stringency of the regulatory requirements. As a result, OEMs, technical services and approval authorities require a more efficient and reliable test procedure for approved vehicles that are already being used on the road.

To tackle these challenges, the seven-strong project team was formed with the shared aim of developing a software-based virtual homologation process for extensive OTA vehicle updates via mobile communications. Digital Loop is claimed to deliver a multitude of advantages for OEMs and regulatory authorities, resulting in time and cost savings during type approvals in addition to the maintenance of product conformity throughout a vehicle’s lifecycle. The challenges include reducing the risks and the complexity of regulatory processes, getting the increasing cost of software development and validation under control and speeding up process time.

To overcome these, real-life scenarios are simulated using techniques that ensure that the digital environment offers the accuracy and reliability required for testing, validation and homologation. The virtual simulation is based on highly detailed 3D models of streets, vehicles, pedestrians and weather conditions, among others. The vehicle systems are confronted with these simulations and their reactions and decisions are analyzed. Digital Loop is being developed to accelerate the homologation process for OTA software updates and to significantly reduce the number of analogous test processes.

 “Our mission is to revolutionize the validation and homologation of software updates in software-defined vehicles and shorten the time-to-market, while ensuring the highest safety standards and compliance with legal requirements in operation,” explains Alexander Kraus, TÜV Süd CTO division mobility.

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After spending six years working as a mechanic for various motorsport and high-end performance car companies, Callum joined UKi Media & Events in February 2020 as an assistant editor. In this role he uses his vast practical knowledge and passion for automotive to produce informative news pieces for multiple vehicle-related sectors. Currently, he is responsible for content across UKi Media & Events' portfolio of websites while also writing for the company's print titles.

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