Research Area Vehicle Intelligence & Automated Driving

Fields of Activity

  • Design and development of driver assistance systems
  • Test and certification of systems and components of driver assistance
  • Human-Machine Interaction
  • Vehicle-oriented traffic simulation
  • Development of simulation methods and tools
  • Analysis and modelling of driver behaviour

General information

Since the construction of the first automobile more than one hundred years ago, vehicle technology has increasingly been further developed and perfected. Today, the automobile is recognized as an integral part of the complete system of driver, environment and traffic. Strict noise- and pollutant-emission limits as well as the ever-increasing traffic density necessitate new concepts and methods for the vehicle and traffic of the future. These concepts and methods must find ways to solve the conflict between demand for increasing mobility and the call for the lowest possible accident rates and environmental impact. The driver assistance department takes on these challenges in research and development.

In the driver assistance department new vehicle technologies are researched and developed in their own surroundings. The department's primary goals are the research and analysis of new systems from the area of driver assistance and active safety. New technologies are evaluated with respect to their potential to improve traffic safety, to reduce pollutant- and CO2-emissions, to increase driving comfort and to improve traffic flow. In the past, examples of achieved projects have included:

  • Series development of ACC for commercial vehicles and safety systems built on it
  • ACC Stop&Go und lane keeping controller
  • Algorithms for collision mitigation and collision avoidance
  • Forward-looking powertrain control for conventional and hybrid propulsion concepts
  • Communications-based traffic assistance
  • Development of a communications-based intersection assistants
  • Lane-change assistance
  • Semi-autonomous parking assistance
  • Construction of test vehicles and prototypes

One problem in this area of work is the analysis and testing of new vehicle systems and sensors in testing. One test procedure was developed for the automobile industry that allows the contact-free measurement of separation distance and evaluation of speed difference using different sensor concepts. The test procedure coveres both road tests in moving traffic on the motorway as well as stationary tests on a test track and in reproducible weather conditions. For this, a special test suite was developed, consisting of mechanical and electronic devices as well as standardized targets for the distance measurement. For assistance systems, systematic test procedures were developed that permittes both an objective and a subjective assessment of the system. Throughout the process, the extensive experience of the department was relied on. The following is a summary of available test procedures:

  • Standard test for environment sensors of European vehicle and sensor manufacturer
  • Standard test for ACC, ACC Stop&Go systems
  • Validated test procedures for pre-crash systems and active pedestrian protection
  • Standard tests for collision-warning systems
  • System tests for lane departure warning, traffic sign memory and ACC Stop&Go
  • Standard tests for camera-based high-beam assistants
  • Standard tests for radar and lidar sensors for pre-crash applications

In addition to road tests, simulation is an important tool for the development and assessment of driver assistance systems. Thus, the traffic flow simulation program PELOPS has been under development since 1990, in cooperation with BWW AG,. The program illustrates detailed the driver and vehicle in a realistic traffic environment. PELOPS was introduced within the framework of the European research program Prometheus for the analysis and development of telematic systems. Subsequently, PELOPS was drawn on for the development and analysis of driver assistance systems. Another usage of PELOPS involves the optimization of traffic flow as well as the decrease in fuel consumption through the adoption of driver assistance systems. Today, PELOPS is a powerful development tool to solve these types of problems. Through various interfaces, existing control algorithms in source code can be implemented exactly like control modules or even entire vehicles (Software- and Hardware-in-the-Loop). In the past, PELOPS has been licensed to diverse OEMs and suppliers.

The analysis and modeling of driver behavior is an important aspect for the understanding and layout of driver assistance systems. Therefore, methodologies for the compilation of driving behavior during road tests and in driving simulators has been developed. From this, a high-resolution driver model for the guidance level was made available. This was also developed in cooperation with BMW AG.

The driver assistance department develops complete systems, from the initial ideas to the final testing in the vehicle and futhermore offers support for system development to its customers.

Have a look at our research projects here.


Institute for Automotive Engineering (ika)
RWTH Aachen University

Steinbachstraße 7
52074 Aachen · Germany

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+49 241 80 25600
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