L3Pilot research project concludes in Hamburg

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The European research project L3Pilot, led by Volkswagen and co-funded by the European Commission, has been showcasing automated driving functions in the city of Hamburg, Germany, and on highways near the city.

Running from 2017 to 2021, the project consortium brought together stakeholders from across the value chain, including car manufacturers, suppliers, academia, research institutes, infrastructure and governmental agencies, user groups and the insurance sector.

According to the project partners, the establishment of ‘The Code of Practice for the Development of Automated Driving Functions’ (CoP-ADF) has been one of the major achievements of L3Pilot. This provides comprehensive guidelines for supporting the design, development, verification and validation of automated driving technologies.

Fourteen partners focused on testing automated driving functions in normal highway driving, traffic jams, urban driving and parking. The pilots, running from April 2019 until February 2021, involved seven countries: Belgium, Germany, France, Italy, Luxemburg, Sweden and the UK and included two cross-border activities between Germany and Luxemburg as well as Germany, Belgium and the UK.

For example, WMG, at the UK’s University of Warwick, focused on the development of a proof-of-concept prototype and a real-world demonstration of technology for cooperative perception, using WMG’s Open Innovation Vehicle Platform and mobile roadside units. The technology developed by WMG aims to enable safe automated driving at complex driving scenarios, such as roundabouts (traffic circles) and T-junctions.

L3Pilot coordinator Aria Etemad, of Volkswagen, commented, “Automated driving has a huge potential to make mobility safer, more efficient and more comfortable. The L3Pilot partners made great efforts to pursue piloting and met the project goals – despite the tremendous pandemic crisis. This shows the outstanding commitment of our Europe-wide partner network. One of our major achievements is a Code of Practice for the Development of Automated Driving Functions. It provides guidelines that will support the development of safe and reliable automated driving systems.”

In total, the project equipped 70 vehicles and the test fleet comprised 13 different vehicle brands, ranging from a passenger cars to a SUVs. More than 400,000km were driven on motorways including 200,000km in an automated mode and 200,000km in a manual mode as a baseline for comparison of the user experience and evaluation of the impacts. More than 24,000km were driven in the automated mode in urban traffic. To support the aim of focusing on the user experience of automated driving functions, over 1,000 people participated in piloting and complementary virtual environment tests.

The project focused on SAE Level 3 automated driving functions on highways and in urban traffic, while SAE Level 4 functions targeted exclusively parking and close-distance scenarios. The SAE Level 3 features Conditional Automation which requires the driver to respond appropriately to a request to take-over the vehicle control for manual driving. In case the driver is not responding properly to a take-over request, the vehicle performs an automatic minimum risk maneuver to safely stop the vehicle.

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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