Porsche has begun testing autonomous driving in its workshop, in a collaboration that is part of the Startup Autobahn innovation platform.
Scheduled for completion in mid-2019, the project involves Porsche working with Berlin-based startup Kopernikus Automotive to install a test field on the car maker’s premises in Ludwigsburg, Germany.
Kopernikus Automotive specializes in technology for self-driving cars, and the aim of the joint project is to enable vehicles to drive from their parking space to the lifting platform and back again, fully autonomously. It is intended that mechanics will be able to maneuver the sports cars to the correct position in the workshop, quickly and automatically, using a tablet.
“Autonomous driving will revolutionize our road traffic in just a few years. However, we can already use the technological possibilities available today to make work processes even more effective and efficient,” said Alexander Haas, project manager for automated driving at the Porsche workshop.
Before the vehicles are driven into the workshop truly autonomously, a test site is created, including the workshop environment, as a virtual representation, which is then used to train an artificial neural network. It drives more than one million virtual test kilometers and learns independently on the basis of real framework data. Finally, the use case is tested under real conditions.
“Our team will experience the use of autonomous driving in the workshop in test operation, and we want to learn from the team’s feedback,” said Thomas Eckert, head of product influencing in aftersales, Porsche.
The AI technology will then not only handle vehicle orientation, but also independently identify and localize objects, and plan paths. Extensive measures will be implemented to guarantee safety in the practical implementation stage of the test run, including a speed limit of 7km/h (4.3mph) and the additional use of a human driver.
Porsche has been involved in the Startup Autobahn innovation platform, which includes partners such as Daimler, the University of Stuttgart and ZF Friedrichshafen. The project launched in 2017 and has set out to bring innovative startups from all over the world to Stuttgart, along with their ideas.
In the two years since the project launched, Porsche has implemented around 50 projects as part of Startup Autobahn.