Real safety

Product testing

Ultan Mulligan

How can we make the roads safer?


(ETSI Centre for Testing and Interoperability)
ETSI’s standards for communication between vehicles and surrounding infrastructure need to be thoroughly tested. For Ultan Mulligan, DEKRA proved to be an ideal testing partner with its facility in Málaga, Spain, supported by highly competent people.

The testing ground for connected driving in Málaga, Spain, is part of the international DEKRA testing network.

Under the Andalusian sun: test curtains for realistic demonstrations.

Vehicles of tomorrow will be more connected, allowing them to issue warnings to drivers about impend ­ ing dangers or approaching road works. The standards around which these solutions are built need to be tested extensively. ETSI, a major body for globally applicable standards, chose DEKRA as a partner for a week of testing in December 2019.

Two cars approach an intersection at the same time. Visibility is partially hampered by buildings and vegetation, increasing the potential for a collision. However, the two vehicles are able to communicate with one another via onboard systems before they even reach the intersection. In both cars, a warning is issued to the drivers and an accident is averted. Major car manufacturers, equipment suppliers, government agencies, road authorities, and a range of technology suppliers are currently working on solutions for scenarios like this. GPS signals, onboard and road side units, and a strong cellular network all play a role here – all driven by information and communication technology (ICT) standards, which set down how the different components communicate with one another. One of the largest bodies for creating ICT standards – including those for intelligent transport systems (ITS) – is ETSI. “We’ve been developing ITS standards for a number of years,” says Ultan Mulligan, Director of the ETSI Centre for Testing and Interoperability.“ It’s extremely important that we factor in interoperability, so that all solutions from all providers can work together,” he continues. Before any standard is officially launched, it is thoroughly tested – because when a vehicle communication solution is introduced to the market, there can’t be any question of whether it is working correctly.

In December 2019, ETSI collaborated with DEKRA and the 5G Automotive Association (5GAA) for the first joint Cellular Vehicle to-Everything (C-V2x) interoperability tests. The week-long event was held at DEKRA’s Connected Vehicle Test Development Center in Málaga, Spain. The 17 different vendors that participated could screen their devices using standardized tests to verify that they comply with the original standard.

“DEKRA’s center was the perfect setting, because it allowed us to do indoor testing in a lab, followed by testing on an outdoor track. More than anything, though, DEKRA’s staff provided excellent support: they helped us organize the event, they understood what is necessary to test secure connectivity, and they supported the vendors extensively,” Mulligan is pleased to report.

In total, test scenarios were executed in 320 combinations with technologies from the 17 vendors. The field interoperability tests included intersection collision risk warning as described above,

solutions for road hazard signaling, such as for slow moving vehicles, and road works warning. Ninety -five percent of the tests showed an extremely positive level of interoperability. “The goal is to push the standards to the limit and figure out where improvements still need to be made before commercial release,” explains Mulligan. By the way, Mulligan estimates that solutions based on the tested standards could be integrated into new vehicles in the next year or two. Until then, more testing will have to be done. “It won’t be about repeating tests, but expanding the scope to demonstrate

an even greater level of interoperability,” says Mulligan. ETSI has already chosen DEKRA to organize the next round of testing – an opportunity that will give DEKRA a further possibility to strengthen its role in secure connectivity.