Ricardo presses on with autonomous vehicle problem-solving
Autonomous vehicles face numerous challenges, and Ricardo has initiatives to tackle some of the largest ones.
With such a shift-change in transportation, manufacturers and systems integrators are trying to ensure the transition from traditional cars to future mobility is as seamless as possible. Motion sickness (kinetosis) has long been an issue for car travelers, whether instigated by certain activities or merely part of their genetic makeup. Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are likely to see an increase in the number of passengers engage those activities—reading, working, and looking at screens to name just three—and therefore it is likely a greater percentage of people will be affected by the condition.
Providing technological solutions to solve kinetosis is likely to be crucial for consumer acceptance of CAVs. Ricardo has deployed a research team to investigate the causes and exacerbating factors for kinetosis and is using the results to develop algorithms that can be used to improve ride comfort and avoid motion sickness.
For all vehicles, the software would be advantageous in informing the optimal specification of suspension to provide the most desirable ride and handling characteristics. Additionally, for AVs, the algorithms could be used with the real-time adaptation of multiple sensory aspects of the cabin environment—control of temperature, lighting, and scent—as well as influencing the discretionary path taken in maneuvers such as cornering, stopping, starting, and overtaking.
The team has used adult volunteers in testing to help calibrate the kinetosis algorithms, but further data are needed for 4 to 18 year-olds—those most likely to benefit from this technology. The researchers are working with UK university partners in a larger-scale research program involving the participation of local school children.
As well being is important in the development of AV control systems, the data obtained are also expected to play a role in the design of future vehicles, where the validation of the kinetosis algorithms can be applied. The supplier says its work has gotten the interest of several OEMs working on AVs and MaaS (mobility-as-a-service) proposals.
Framework gets 5StarS treatment
Another challenge facing AVs is cybersecurity, and Ricardo’s involvement in the 5StarS consortium has seen the creation of a new framework. The consortium—which also includes Roke, Horiba MIRA, Thatcham Research, and Axillium—has created the framework to tackle cybersecurity for connected and autonomous vehicles from design to end of life.
Faced with increased exposure to cyber attacks via connected devices such as infotainment modules, consumers and insurers need to have confidence that vehicle manufacturers are managing cybersecurity appropriately. The 5StarS assurance framework sets out to build trust in the ability of manufacturers to mitigate against cyber threats and be resilient to attacks. The framework will allow them to demonstrate that they will respond quickly and effectively to attacks or vulnerabilities.
The Roadmap to Resilience framework will enable manufacturers to gain assurance in the capabilities of their products, use resilience as a market differentiator, and establish meaningful ways of communicating cyber derived risk to consumers.
The consortium maintains that the biggest benefits for vehicle manufacturers will be increased consumer trust in the overall safety of vehicles; highlighting vehicle countermeasures against—and resilience to—cyber attacks; a reflection of cyber risk in insurance premiums; and highlighting the ability to monetize good practice in cybersecurity through a rating that differentiates their products from the competition.
“We established the Roke-Ricardo partnership to bring together the best of both organizations in developing effective solutions to the evolving cyber threat,” said Jerry Williams, Managing Director for the Roke and Ricardo Digital Resilience partnership. “As members of the 5StarS project since its inception, we bring a full understanding of the difficulties associated with assessing cybersecurity as current and emerging threats change over time. We have used this basis of understanding to build an effective vehicle testbed.”
“We’re now using our newly established, dedicated facility to assess a number of vehicles, using a methodology that is consistent with the 5StarS approach, to get a detailed understanding of how different manufacturers have approached cybersecurity,” added Williams. This allows us to identify modifications that would improve future vehicles’ resilience to cyber attack.”
Industry shift from AVs
Another more general concern about AVs is the impact on the existing automotive industry. One of the key sectors of Europe’s economy and its largest manufacturing industry, it provides over 12 million direct and indirect jobs and representing about 5.6% of the EU workforce. It is also a leading source of technology development, giving rise to innovations that benefit many other sectors.
To better understand the future mobility platforms will affect the future of road transport in Europe, the European Investment Advisory Hub (EIAH) has asked Ricardo Strategic Consulting to study the sector over a six-month period. The research will assess the key technologies and dependencies, market demand drivers, future value chain scenarios, and potential impacts of autonomous technologies over the decade to 2030.
The research will be carried out in cooperation with the European Investment Bank (EIB) and shared with the European Commission. The overall aim is to better identify areas that would benefit support from EIB products and resources as well as other EU financial support to complement and attract private sector finance.