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Researchers from the Robotics Research Institute at TU Dortmund University and the automotive supply sector are together developing a key component for automated and connected driving: The aim of the “KISSaF” project is to improve environment perception and predict traffic situations by means of artificial intelligence. The collaborative project’s full name is “AI-based Situation Interpretation for Automated Driving”. The Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy has been funding it since the beginning of the year with € 2.75 million.
Automated and connected driving is one of the automotive sector’s technologies of the future. For fully automated vehicles to be underway on our roads, guaranteeing that they are steered safely in every situation is essential. This becomes especially difficult when the vehicle hands control back over to the person at the wheel. This “takeover” time, which the driver needs to get his or her bearings in a critical or complex situation, is usually calculated at ten seconds. In many traffic situations, that is far too long: At a speed of 50 km/h, a car travels almost a further 140 meters in city traffic in this time.
This is the starting point for the new project: By predicting how the traffic situation is going to develop, the vehicle itself should be able to anticipate and plan its maneuvers. If the information from its surroundings is evaluated and interpreted properly, it is possible to align a vehicle’s individual motion planning with that of other road users. However, current approaches to automated driving, which work with conventional rule-based algorithms, are unable to reflect adequately how the traffic situation is going to develop. In a finite set of rules, the possible interactions of all road users as well as consideration of the road infrastructure and all contextual information can only be expressed incompletely.
Modern technologies help with representation of the environment
That is why the project partners are first of all working to develop a representation of the environment that contains all important aspects of the traffic scene: All static and dynamic objects and the infrastructure in the vehicle’s range of perception. Already today, modern sensor technologies are delivering more and more information that can be used for this purpose: Radar, cameras, and sensors for optical measurement of distance and speed. To reflect that the traffic situation changes over time, observations are accumulated over a certain period. In addition, the representation should also already produce a basic interpretation of the situation, e.g. take speed limits into account.
The description of the environment is the starting point for the prediction: On the basis of the accumulated measurements from the observation period, artificial intelligence is used to train a model that looks into the future. The possible courses of future situations are then used for the decision algorithms needed to support and improve the vehicle’s maneuver planning. A test vehicle will be developed and used within the project to evaluate the predictions under real conditions.
About the KISSaF project:
“KISSaF – AI-based Situation Interpretation for Automated Driving” will run from 1 January 2021 to 30 June 2023. The total project volume is about € 4 million, of which 68 percent is being funded by the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy. Collaborating in the project are three companies, ZF Automotive GmbH Germany in Düsseldorf (project coordinator), ZF AI Lab in Saarbrücken, and INGgreen GmbH in Koblenz, as well as the Robotics Research Institute of TU Dortmund University.
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Location & approach
The campus of TU Dortmund University is located close to interstate junction Dortmund West, where the Sauerlandlinie A 45 (Frankfurt-Dortmund) crosses the Ruhrschnellweg B 1 / A 40. The best interstate exit to take from A 45 is “Dortmund-Eichlinghofen” (closer to South Campus), and from B 1 / A 40 “Dortmund-Dorstfeld” (closer to North Campus). Signs for the university are located at both exits. Also, there is a new exit before you pass over the B 1-bridge leading into Dortmund.
To get from North Campus to South Campus by car, there is the connection via Vogelpothsweg/Baroper Straße. We recommend you leave your car on one of the parking lots at North Campus and use the H-Bahn (suspended monorail system), which conveniently connects the two campuses.
TU Dortmund University has its own train station (“Dortmund Universität”). From there, suburban trains (S-Bahn) leave for Dortmund main station (“Dortmund Hauptbahnhof”) and Düsseldorf main station via the “Düsseldorf Airport Train Station” (take S-Bahn number 1, which leaves every 20 or 30 minutes). The university is easily reached from Bochum, Essen, Mülheim an der Ruhr and Duisburg.
You can also take the bus or subway train from Dortmund city to the university: From Dortmund main station, you can take any train bound for the Station “Stadtgarten”, usually lines U41, U45, U 47 and U49. At “Stadtgarten” you switch trains and get on line U42 towards “Hombruch”. Look out for the Station “An der Palmweide”. From the bus stop just across the road, busses bound for TU Dortmund University leave every ten minutes (445, 447 and 462). Another option is to take the subway routes U41, U45, U47 and U49 from Dortmund main station to the stop “Dortmund Kampstraße”. From there, take U43 or U44 to the stop “Dortmund Wittener Straße”. Switch to bus line 447 and get off at “Dortmund Universität S”.
The AirportExpress is a fast and convenient means of transport from Dortmund Airport (DTM) to Dortmund Central Station, taking you there in little more than 20 minutes. From Dortmund Central Station, you can continue to the university campus by interurban railway (S-Bahn). A larger range of international flight connections is offered at Düsseldorf Airport (DUS), which is about 60 kilometres away and can be directly reached by S-Bahn from the university station.
The H-Bahn is one of the hallmarks of TU Dortmund University. There are two stations on North Campus. One (“Dortmund Universität S”) is directly located at the suburban train stop, which connects the university directly with the city of Dortmund and the rest of the Ruhr Area. Also from this station, there are connections to the “Technologiepark” and (via South Campus) Eichlinghofen. The other station is located at the dining hall at North Campus and offers a direct connection to South Campus every five minutes.
The facilities of TU Dortmund University are spread over two campuses, the larger Campus North and the smaller Campus South. Additionally, some areas of the university are located in the adjacent “Technologiepark”.