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September 9, 2020

Horiba MIRA advocates ‘early engagement’ on ALKS rules

As imminent new automated lane keeping systems (ALKS) regulations continue to garner interest, engineering consultancy Horiba MIRA said "early engagement with assessors" could be the key to delivering this vital technology step change for the automotive industry.

By Olly Wehring

As imminent new automated lane keeping systems (ALKS) regulations continue to garner interest, engineering consultancy Horiba MIRA said “early engagement with assessors” could be the key to delivering this vital technology step change for the automotive industry.

In less than six months, the new, highly-anticipated UN regulations on ALKS will be enabled, giving automakers a new ‘common rulebook’ for Level 3 automation. In the establishment of a close-to legal obligation through regulatory scrutiny, the result is that automakers will be tasked with paying greater attention to their functional safety processes, Horiba MIRA said.

The result is additional pressure for the automotive industry at a time when it remains in recovery from the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 pandemic – a need which has been further heightened by a recent wave of mainstream national media headlines on the upcoming changes.

The good news for the automotive industry however is that, with high safety standards already evident across the board, it is likely that compliance will most likely lie in better documentation and preparation, rather than implementing new safety processes. However, according to the vehicle engineering and testing consultancy, achieving this in the most efficient manner will rely on early engagement with external assessment suppliers.

David Ward, senior technical manager for functional safety, said: “The ALKS regulations are designed to enable the safe introduction of Level 3 automation features in certain traffic environments but manufacturers will already be aware of the international standard ISO 26262 Road Vehicles – Functional Safety. And for a number of years, we have worked with clients across the industry to help meet that standard.

“In addition, ISO/PAS 21448 Road Vehicles – Safety of the Intended Functionality (SOTIF) supports the safety of autonomous vehicles, providing guidance on design, verification and validation measures relating to functional performance (albeit to Level 2 automation presently). Both international standards are explicitly referenced in ALKS and it is reasonable to assume that adherence with ISO 26262 and ISO/PAS 21448 will ensure compliance with ALKS.

“As such, for those organisations already adhering to ISO 26262 and ISO 21448, the remit in preparing for the new regulations will be on formalising processes and demonstrating the effectiveness of those processes through a full safety process audit and possible certification. This is where the role of the assessor really comes in, in terms of providing that independent stamp of approval – providing OEMs with confidence and peace of mind that they’re complying with the new regulations.

“We believe that achieving this more efficiently will require a marked shift towards earlier engagement with external assessors, particularly when it comes to engineering and testing. In this way, automakers will be able to negate issues in the development cycle in the initial design stages and maintain a continual process of checking to ensure they are following the correct procedures.”

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