True auto mobility: cars that drive themselves

Self-driving cars will make our mobile lives easier. TÜV SÜD ensures safety

In self-driving cars, autopilot takes the wheel.
Photo: Corbis

Paying attention to traffic used to be the top priority for drivers. Not anymore! Soon drivers’ licenses could become obsolete. Self-driving vehicles have been underway on test routes for some time now. TÜV SÜD makes sure that autopilot doesn’t become a wrong-way driver.

Coffee in the left hand, smartphone in the right. The car purrs along the street while we check emails, read a book or doze off. We typed the destination in the onboard computer when we set off – that’s all. What still sounds unbelievable today will be reality by the end of the decade: the autopilot. “By then at the latest, new cars will be equipped with systems that completely take over the driving for us on many routes,” predicts Udo Steininger, head of automated driving at TÜV SÜD. Driver assistance systems for emergency braking, maintaining a safe distance and staying within our lane as well as parking are already ensuring fewer accidents and emissions.

The auto industry is certainly prepared: It already has production-ready self-driving systems. TÜV SÜD is collaborating on this development. Udo Steininger’s project team is therefore a pioneer in shaping and designing the legal and normative framework for automated driving. Furthermore, “We are market leaders in ensuring the proper testing of automated driving on public roads,” says Steininger.

TÜV SÜD is making a serious contribution to getting automated driving systems on the road safely.

To help self-driving cars achieve eligibility for approval, TÜV SÜD is supporting producers and developers of autonomous systems in performing risk and hazard analyses and providing its expertise for the safety concepts.

Safety is absolutely the number one topic for the future autopilots: The team from TÜV SÜD gave its blessing to the safety concept for the Daimler research vehicle that self-drove the Bertha Benz route in 2013. “The most important thing is for vehicles to be able to look far enough ahead while the driver is occupied with other things,” explains Steininger. And even if the driver does not react after some lead time or does not react correctly, the car should behave the right way on its own. Developers are currently working on such an intelligent car.

550 miles to Las Vegas – TÜV SÜD didn’t leave the car alone

Internet giant Google’s announcement of its intention to launch a test fleet on the market for a taxi service in five years caught the auto industry by surprise. Udo Steininger takes a calm look at the IT competition. “Google wants to win the time that drivers now spend driving for the use of their services, but it surely will not emerge as a major auto manufacturer.”

Nevertheless, the auto industry wants a presence in the IT industry. In 2015, Audi raised awareness by driving a prototype car 550 miles by autopilot to the CES electronics show in Las Vegas. The TÜV SÜD team collaborated on the safety for the showcase in California.