The goal of the SPARC project was to substantially improve traffic safety and efficiency for heavy goods vehicles and passenger vehicles by developing intelligent x-by-wire technologies which included a co-pilot function. Substantial and impressive progress was made on both subsystem and system level, i.e. subsystem integration. A standardised SW/HW platform concept was developed and implemented in tour demonstration vehicles, using similar SW/HW components in an architecture which is scalable from heavy goods vehicles (HGVs) right down to small passenger cars (sPC).
- Development of an accident-avoiding vehicle using a Decision Control System (DCS), which compensates driver failure probability (driver incapacity, dead man state, etc.);
- Describe and validate clear SW/HW interfaces for automotive redundant control systems to combine results from other related European projects (e.g. PEIT, PReVENT, AIDE, etc.);
- Extend this concept of heavy goods vehicle to full tractor-trailer combination;
- Validate the scalability of the concept by transferring it from heavy-duty trucks to small passenger cars. Four validator vehicles have been built up;
- Ensure European technology leadership for x-by-wire vehicles.
SPARC has proposed a complete automotive concept of an open system architecture, where software functionalities of different kinds can be integrated easily. The key technological advancement is the following:
In State-of-the-Art accident avoidance systems, such as the electronic stability programme (ESP) or restraint devices, the system responds only after the vehicle has entered a hazardous situation. This is referred to as reactive safety. The present approach is in sharp contrast to reactive safety: hazardous situations are anticipated and the time lead gained by this forecast used to keep the vehicle inside a safe motion envelope. This is referred to as preventive safety, since hazardous situations are avoided at a very early stage. The expected evolution from reactive safety to preventive safety created by the SPARC vehicles will constitute a breakthrough in road safety technology by pursuing the main technical objectives mentioned above.
In the integration phase, the partners have formed seven subgroups to facilitate the processes of the vehicle integration. Those subgroups were:
All actuators of the vehicles are controlled with electronical signals in x-by-wire systems. There is no mechanical connection between driver and chassis. This result in smart steer-, brake-, accelerate- and shift-by-wire performance of the vehicle, so braking and stopping distance are enhanced.
The main task of this subgroup was to ensure the safe data processing of the environmental data and the driver inputs, a redundant controller platform, Dual Duplex ECU, is used. This architecture and operating system makes it possible to recognise and compensate occurring failures without compromising the running of the vehicle. If the driver's wish does not correspond to a safe motion vector, generated by the use of environmental information, the Decision Control System (DCS) helps the driver to control and steer the car on the base of this safe motion vector.
3. Test systems
Future drive-by-wire vehicles show the necessity to test all sub-systems and software from the partners as well as the entire vehicles. The systems and the software components were tested in the lab. To test the vehicles test benches for the heavy goods vehicles and small passenger cars have been built up. Consequently driving tests for all vehicles on divers test tracks have finalised the operation.
- Development of an accident-avoiding vehicle using a Decision Control System (DCS), which compensates driver failure probability (driver incapacity, dead man state, etc.).
- Described and validated clear SW/HW interfaces for automotive redundant control systems to combine results from other related European projects (e.g. PEIT, PReVENT, AIDE, etc.).
- Extended this concept of heavy goods vehicle to full tractor-trailer combination.
- Validated the scalability of the concept by transferring it from heavy-duty trucks to small passenger cars. Four validator vehicles were built up.
- Ensured European technology leadership for x-by-wire vehicles.
The project successfully demonstrated the integration of several new and important control functions for higher levels of system automation, e.g. secure vector, co-pilot assistance, electromechanical wedge brakes, a fault-tolerant processing architecture, intelligent energy distribution and management. Additionally, a key success of the SPARC project was the development of a scalable platform approach which supports the Integration of X-by-Wire/DCS and active safety systems.
The project has developed and demonstrated very promising strategies and paradigms which support the deployment of both: a) full closed-loop DCS technology, and b) x-by-wire subsystems and larger integrated systems.
Some of the noteworthy outputs of the SPARC project include:
- The Integration of new and innovative hardware and software subsystems e.g. x-by-wire.
- A layered open software architecture which incorporates redundancy management.
- A number of technology demonstration vehicles based on the ACTROS and SMART platforms.
- Validation of the concepts within the SPARC project.
As part of the final reviewing process several of the concepts and systems developed within the SPARC project were demonstrated. The demonstrations involving the prototype vehicles: ACTROS (HGV with/without tailor) and the SMART (sPC coupe), and included a split-µ braking demonstration, emergency braking, Lane detection and co-pilot Operation.
There are no direct policy implications.
However, the work on the homologation within the project can be used as base for the homologation in other x-by-wire projects.