Since the first Motorwagen saw the light in 1886, many inventions have given automobiles the ability to be more responsive to human needs and to facilitate their use. A short list includes electric ignition starter, car radio, car key, power steering, cruise control, electric windows, intermittent windshield wipers, anti-lock braking system (ABS), digital dashboard displays, electromagnetic parking sensors, on-board diagnostics, mobile connection, satellite navigation, reversing camera, automatic parking, driver assistance features, etc.
From the first 1939 experiments, many efforts have given automobiles some “self-driving” capabilities. Recently, the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) in the USA has developed a Level-based classification of cars that have “self-driving” capabilities . Today, self-driving cars are not only technically possible, but several implementations also exist. They promise to bring benefits that will positively affect industry, society, and the environment, such as:
- Replacing human error with a machine less prone to errors.
- Giving humans more time for rewarding activities, such as interpersonal communication.
- Optimising the use of vehicles and infrastructure.
- Reducing congestion and pollution.
- Supporting elderly and disabled people.
Therefore, the transformation of what can be called today’s “niche market” into tomorrow’s vibrant mass market is a goal of high societal importance. One could achieve the goal by relying on market forces and waiting for users demanding cars with progressively higher SAE Levels. MPAI, however, believes in an alternative approach based on the specification of the Architecture of a Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) that includes:
- A CAV Reference Model broken down into Subsystems.
- The Functions of each Subsystem.
- The Data exchanged between Subsystems.
- A breakdown of each Subsystem into Components of which the following are specified:
- The Functions of the Components.
- The Data exchanged between Components.
- The Topology of Components and their Connections.
The following step will be the Functional Requirements of the Data exchanged and, eventually, standard technologies for the Data exchanged.
This approach provides several advantages:
- Research can:
- Concentrate on different individual Components.
- Optimise Components while keeping unchanged the Functional Requirements for the interfaces.
- Industry can promote the definition of Data Formats when:
- Research results are mature.
- A Component is needed.
- Component manufacturers can:
- Develop optimised Component solutions based on publicly available specifications.
- Bring their standard-confirming Components to market.
- Car manufacturers can:
- Access an open global market of components.
- Benefit from components with standard functions and interfaces.
- Test components for conformance using standard procedures.
- Regulators can use tools to oversee the development of the market.
- Users can rely on CAVs whose operation they can explain.
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