The SUNRISE project is shaping the future of Cooperative, Connected, and Automated Mobility (CCAM) by working on a Safety Assurance Framework (SAF) that accelerates the safe and large-scale deployment of CCAM technologies. A year after the start of its planned three-year duration, the project has achieved some important targets and is in a good position to deliver on its overall objectives.

The challenges in CCAM validation are connected to the lack of a common European federated framework and standardised procedures. There is a need for a unified approach to scenario databases, and for addressing the absence of harmonized safety assessment criteria for CCAM validation. SUNRISE’s Safety Assurance Framework intends to respond to those needs and bolster the EU’s 2050 Vision Zero safety goal.

The SUNRISE project has recently concretised its consortium’s work by publishing a number of technical deliverables.

Deliverables: an overview

To prepare the ground for the Safety Assurance Framework for CCAM, the SUNRISE project partners first overviewed the existing frameworks used for CCAM systems and documented the gaps. Deliverable 2.1: Overview and gaps of existing safety assessment frameworks begins by identifying the stakeholders and defining a set of requirements for each of them. It then provides a literature review of the existing safety assessment frameworks and analyses their strengths and weaknesses. Additionally, the report highlights the need for continuous improvement and adaptation of safety assessment frameworks to address emerging risks and technologies associated with CCAM systems.

Demonstrating that CCAM systems are safe in their complete operational design domains (ODDs) requires robust safety argumentation. Scenario-based testing is now believed to be an important part of the safety assessment approach for automated driving systems (ADS). A forerunner to SUNRISE, the HEADSTART project developed a methodology for safety validation of connected and automated vehicles centred around scenario-based testing. Deliverable 3.1: Report on baseline analysis of existing Methodology presents a literature study and baseline tracking of the existing scenario-based methodologies, especially, based on the knowledge and literature review of the HEADSTART project. SUNRISE will build on the HEADSTART methodology, complemented with other existing best practices documented in the report contained in Deliverable 3.1.

An important objective of SUNRISE is to also develop a harmonised verification and validation (V&V) simulation framework for CCAM systems. To overcome the limitations of virtual simulation, the targeted SAF will include hybrid and real-world testing and validation approaches. Deliverable 4.1: Report on relevant subsystems to validate CCAM systems presents the project’s findings to identify relevant subsystems of a harmonised V&V simulation framework for virtual validation of CCAM systems applying a scenario-based testing methodology. The partners involved in this task have identified and agreed on a non-exclusive list of relevant subsystems: (1) test case manager, (2) environment, (3) subject vehicle, (4) traffic agents, (5) connectivity, and (6) simulation model validation. This deliverable primarily focuses on virtual simulations, but the SAF also covers XiL (X-in-the-Loop) tests, where some of the listed subsystems can be replaced with real components.

The process of gathering requirements, and clustering them, for the CCAM safety assessment data framework and scenarios database is outlined in Deliverable 5.1: Requirements for CCAM safety assessment data framework content. The data framework also enables user access to the external scenario databases, including uploading new scenarios, searching for scenarios, and storing/retrieving test results. The external scenario databases content encompasses the format for storing scenarios, metadata, relevant outputs, scenario data origin, and the scenarios themselves. The SUNRISE project follows a collaborative approach to gather requirements, involving partners’ expertise and in-depth discussions. The requirements are refined through iterations, ensuring consistency, coherence, and alignment with the SUNRISE vision.

Several worldwide initiatives have started to develop test and assessment methods for ADS. These initiatives have already moved from conventional validation to a scenario-based data-driven approach and combine different test instances (physical and virtual testing). Deliverable 7.1 CCAM use cases validation requirements emphasises a balanced approach to CCAM systems’ validation testing. In this landscape, four Use Cases (UCs) have been identified, which cover a broad range of existing ADS (Urban AD validation, Traffic Jam AD validation, Highway AD validation, and Freight vehicle automated parking validation). Additionally, high-level validation requirements for the aforementioned selected UCs are refined, based on the ADS under test behavioural capabilities, the ODDs, the scenario testing, the metrics for assessment, the testing methods and tools, and the required data.  The above analysis makes SUNRISE the case for a single concrete approach (at least at the European level) for dealing with CCAM scenarios of any possible variations, including the creation, editing, parameterisation, storing, exporting, importing, etc. in a universally agreed manner.

SUNRISE added value: international cooperation

The SUNRISE project was conceived as a continuation of previous activities (such as HEADSTART) to tackle multiple challenges that the deployment of CCAM technologies faces. From the recently published deliverables, it is evident that international cooperation and coordination is fundamental for the success of SUNRISE. Stefan de Vries, Project Coordinator, believes that connecting previous and current related projects, and creating links with similar projects worldwide is vital to shape a framework that takes into account the needs and interests of a multitude of stakeholders. “Building new and reinforcing old collaborations will help SUNRISE face the challenges that still remain in CCAM safety assurance. At the same time, we want to make sure that SUNRISE becomes a reference point for international experts that focus on safety assurance argumentation”.

The project’s Cooperation Platform, a forum-like space, is set up to be the central communication point for the SUNRISE Expert Platform, a pool of experts that will discuss the project’s results and milestones throughout its duration.

Over the past year, SUNRISE has also participated in a variety of international events – such as the EUCAD2023, the ITS European Congress 2023, the TRB ARTS 2023 – to spread its message and showcase its goals and objectives.

At SUNRISE’s third General Assembly in September, in Athens, the project confirmed the launch of a series of workshops. These workshops will centre on the both technical and strategic aspects of SUNRISE’s Work Packages. The first workshop will take place online on 31 October: members of the Expert Platform are invited to join.

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You can download all the project’s non-restricted Deliverables on the SUNRISE website.