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Enhancing car safety through accurate and real time side-slip angle assessment

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - SKIDLESS (Enhancing car safety through accurate and real time side-slip angle assessment)

Okres sprawozdawczy: 2019-02-01 do 2019-07-31

When we drive, our safety is protected by technologies that watch over the car’s behaviour. The Electronic Stability Control (ESC) is the most impactful safety technology in cars, having reduced by around 40% the number of fatal accidents caused by the vehicle’s loss of control. Any ESC on the market suffer from one flaw: they cannot directly measure the sideslip angle, which is the key indicator of skidding, namely the situation when the car deviates from the driver’s direction. To real time assess whether a vehicle is losing control, the ESC collects data from the sensors in the car, adopting approximate strategy that doesn’t control the vehicle skid, but its yaw rate. There is currently no sensor that can measure in real time the sideslip angle in a commercial car, and that is why present ESC technologies are focused on the vehicle yaw-rate control. As a result ESC can detect only up to 80% of skidding events, thus still leaving room for improvements that can save lives. Modelway has developed Skidless, a machine learning technology able to accurately estimate the vehicle’s sideslip angle in real time, without adding any new sensor to the car. The key is the proprietary and patented Direct Virtual Sensor technology, which can be embedded in standard ESC units to further improve the vehicle’s capacity to detect a skidding event. Skidless can provide up to 20% more accurate estimation of the sideslip angle, giving accurate estimations in presence of operating condition changes (i.e. dry/wet road, tires status, car load). This allows increasing the safety of vehicles regardless of the road conditions and driving style, improve the performances in vehicle control, becoming an essential ingredient for the next generation car safety systems.
During Phase 1 we collected requirements from OEMs and Tier1s for integration of the Skidless software, realized a lab-scale demonstrator emulating the software in an use case scenario, and performed a standard compliance analysis in order to obtain certifications. We assessed the size of the market, and defined a business model based on a licence fee. The marketing strategy is based on direct contacts of prospective customers, by initially focusing on high-end and sport vehicles. The Phase 1 project has been key for demonstrating the feasibility of the system implementation, enabling a co-development effort with OEMs and global ESC manufacturers and leading to a pre-commercial validation test-beds, which will be pursued in the view of the commercialization in 2022.
During Phase 1, we studied the feasibility of the integration of the DVS technology in commercial ESC units, by collecting key requirements from OEMs and Tier1s. We then built a lab-scale demonstrator, emulating the execution of the Skidless software on an actual ESC processor by an OEM. The sensor has been developed using dataset obtained from the conventional test that the car maker usually performs to validate the vehicle dynamic control systems. Data have been acquired for different driving style and road conditions. This enabled us to streamline the Skidless architecture and then validate the required performances of the system and the compliance with the customer’s requirements (Sample time of maximum 20ms; accuracy maintained for dry or wet road; memory occupation < 100 Kbyte). This has been key for demonstrating the product and also minimize the integration and calibration effort in the different features of commercial vehicles.
We finally performed a standard compliance analysis in order to determine the certifications required to commercialize the system (e.g. AUTOSAR Safety and ISO 26262) and the activities needed to obtain them.
Regarding the business-related activities, we interacted with several OEMs, Tier1s and Tier2s. We first validated the value proposition of Skidless, which has been highly valued for the enhancement of the vehicles’ stability and therefore of the passengers’ safety, as well as for the expected savings due to the embedment of a virtual sensor technology. The interactions served also for collecting further requirements (like short development time and low technical impact) and potential barriers to implementation (like integration and confidentiality issues).
The market size is huge, with 86.01 million vehicles sold in 2018 and the ESC systems market hitting 24.5 billion € in 2018. We scouted and interacted with the most important suppliers of ESC systems and estimated the overall TAM, SAM and SOM of our new technology. We identified a model based on an annual license for each car model, with a staggered price list depending on expected production volumes. The commercialization plan was defined, based on a first phase for the final engineering of the Skidless software and validation, followed by a business development activity with a dedicated sales engineering team. This will lead us to the market launch in 2021, enabling Modelway to hit more than 13 M€ revenues in 2025, with an estimated net profit of more than 7M€. During the Phase1 project, we disseminated the Skidless solution in several global events (like the WAC in Shangai 2019), and through interactions with the most important players in the automotive sector.
By interacting with OEMs and suppliers we consolidated the added values of our solution with respect to state-of-the-art solutions. The drawback of the ESC and ELK controls consists in the use of the vehicle yaw-rate instead of the vehicle sideslip angle as reference measure for the vehicle skidding. The vehicle SA can only be measured using expensive and fragile sensors, which are used by car manufacturers and Tier-1 in laboratory, in order to calibrate the vehicle dynamic controls during the vehicle set-up. These sensors cannot be installed in series production vehicles.
The first benefit of the Skidless solution is related to the enhanced security value that OEMs could claim to their customers. Security is one of the key strategic features driving innovation in the automotive sector. Skidless is poised to improve the ESC performances by up to 20%. OEMs highlighted as first application of the technology both sport and medium/high-end cars, because of their high-speed performances needing specific security features.
The second benefit is related to the incoming revolution of Autonomous Driving. Modelways’ proprietary and patented Direct Virtual Sensor (DVS) technology is a potential enabling factor for the full deployment of autonomous cars, since it enhances the capability of the car to collect input data and process them in real-time by ensuring maximum security for passengers. Sideslip angle has then been considered as a first key feature of a “sensing machine” which is poised to replace several physical sensors in autonomous vehicles, by reducing overall costs components/sensors and implementation efforts.
By developing and commercializing the Skidless technology, Modelway will fulfill the vision to make Skidless an industry standard in the automotive sector. Modelway’s DVS technology provides a rich variety of potential side applications, both in the automotive sector and in other branches. In the long term, Modelway intends to become a world leading company in the development of “virtual sensing machines”, able to substitute real sensors, thus reducing costs for components/sensors and implementation efforts, and enhance the vehicles’ automated features and the overall safety.
Modelway Skidless Virtual Sensor for sideslip angle estimation