Last modified on March 26, 2024

The road ahead: developing a commonly accepted safety validation framework as a key enabler for CCAM

22 March 2024

All over the world, companies and governments are preparing for the implementation of Connected, Cooperative and Automated Mobility (CCAM). A complex transition of our mobility system is underway, a transition that promises a future of safer, more efficient transportation systems with lower environmental impact, enhanced user comfort and above all, increased road safety. Although safety assurance of CCAM technologies and systems is the most crucial factor for CCAM-wide and successful implementation, it yet represents one of the biggest challenges that remain to be sufficiently addressed before massive deployment.

Today, traditional validation methods such as physical testing, field trials, pilots, scenario-based testing and simulations are not sufficient to address the unique challenges posed by CCAM systems and ensure the safety, reliability and performance of automated driving functions in diverse operating environments, in every possible driving scenario. As CCAM technologies evolve in a multistakeholder landscape and rely on complex algorithms, machine learning, data fusion, sensors and communication systems, validation techniques become increasingly data driven. Several initiatives have started to develop testing, evaluation and assessment methods for CCAM systems, in both physical and virtual testing sites, applying a scenario-based approach. However, the lack of a common approach and a code of practice creates significant silos.

Harnessing this wealth of data created by different validation techniques, is essential for developing the myriad functionalities and ensuring the seamless integration of CCAM technologies into real-world scenarios. As leveraging data becomes the cornerstone of validation in CCAM, and having realised that CCAM development involves collaboration among a diverse range of stakeholders, a universally accepted safety validation framework that will provide standardized methodologies, criteria and metrics for evaluating safety as well as security, that will also establish protocols, interfaces and data formats for ensuring interoperability, becomes increasingly essential.  It is only through such framework that trust among stakeholders -consumers, policymakers, regulators, and industry partners-, can be fostered. The harmonisation of safety frameworks across jurisdictions, can provide regulators clear guidelines and criteria for assessing risk and thus accelerate the regulatory process approval. Speeding up certification procedures, it will reduce barriers to open road piloting and market entry, and thus accelerate innovation.

Realising a need for a common point of reference, certification initiatives worldwide struggle to define a harmonized approach to safety. The coordination of European research in the field, testing piloting and pre deployment activities will require the development of common methodologies for knowledge sharing and experience exchange and it will mainly require working closely with all CCAM stakeholders -policy makers, regulators, consumer testing, user associations etc- to maximize coherence and complementarities between ongoing Research and Innovation (R&I) and testing activities in Europe. 

Dr Angelos Amditis, ERTICO Chairman and Research & Development Director at ICCS

In this direction, the CCAM Data sharing framework developed in the frame of FAME project -and in line with the European Strategy for Data-, provides a valuable tool to facilitate greater use of the collected test data from Naturalistic Driving Studies (NDS), Field Operation Tests (FOT), pilots and living labs. Building from HEADSTART and other initiatives, another project, SUNRISE, sets to develop and demonstrate a commonly accepted, extensible Safety Assurance Framework for the test and safety validation of a varied scope of CCAM systems, by bringing the needs of heterogeneous CCAM use cases, holistically addressing the CCAM test scenario generation; integrating functional safety and cybersecurity, developing a federated European Scenario Database framework, a commonly agreed simulation framework including tools and data interfaces.  At a broader level, the CAD Knowledge Base provides a valuable single point for sharing data, knowledge and experiences in CCAM and is constantly enriched by the ever-evolving and growing body of information and data in the field.

It is only through a collaborative approach that we can foster innovation and accelerate the advancement of CCAM technologies. In this complex and dynamic landscape, the role of tools and platforms that enable the dialogue with all stakeholders in CCAM, becomes vital to fully unlock potential benefits of CCAM for the mobility of people and goods, across sectors and across borders.

Written by Dr Angelos Amditis, Research & Development Director at ICCS