The development of an intelligent test assistant to facilitate data acquisition and the evaluation of test results in complete vehicle testing was the aim of a research project of the Teamware Group with the Technical University of Munich. Due to the high degree of innovation of the product, parts of the project were funded by the Bavarian State Ministry for Economic Affairs, Energy and Technology.
The creation of test instructions, the collection of data and the evaluation of results in vehicle testing are time-consuming activities that are often still carried out (partially) manually. Complaints are often subject to subjective assessments, while relationships between environmental, driver and vehicle data are often not recorded at all and thus not evaluated. As a result, the recording and evaluation process is time-consuming, costly and error-prone.
With the development of an intelligent test assistant, the Teamware Group (Ingolstadt/Munich), in cooperation with the Chair of Automotive Engineering at the Technical University of Munich (TUM), aims to digitalize and automate testing processes. Specifically, a cloud-based software tool was developed that enables vehicle testers to enter, transmit and evaluate test results digitally and in a user-friendly manner. Great emphasis was placed on support for the creation of test questions. This should make it easier for users to manage a pool of questions and increase the quality of test results.
The recording and analysis of additional data, such as on the environment, the driver and the vehicle, should additionally increase the validity and objectivity of the test results. The intended field of application for the intelligent test assistant was initially the automotive industry in the area of complete vehicle testing and validation as well as customer fleets. After completion, however, the product should also be usable in other industries such as retail and gastronomy or trade fairs and events.
"As an ISO 27001-certified group of companies, the security of data and transmission paths is also of essential importance to us," explains Stefan Heier, product manager and authorized signatory at Teamware. Therefore, the "Secure Web Box", another product from TW Soft, is used in this project. "With Secure Web Box, you can decouple communication and access your internal company applications from mobile apps without opening security gaps in your firewall," says Heier. The individual data packets are end-to-end encrypted, ensuring highly secure data transmission between all deployed devices.
Sebastian Krapf, a TUM doctoral student at the Department of Automotive Engineering, is working on his dissertation in the "Firefly" project, which is the internal working title for the intelligent test assistant. "In general, testing is an exciting field," the 25-year-old Munich native tells us. "You wouldn't believe how many resources testing takes up in vehicle manufacturing," he says. Topics such as automated driving and digitalization bring additional challenges for safeguarding, where some research work still needs to be done, he adds.
The doctoral student finds digitization and networking in the automotive industry particularly interesting. At an advanced stage, Firefly is to use statistical evaluations and machine learning (ML) methods to analyze vehicle test measurement runs in real time, combine them with data from other test runs, and dynamically adjust the further test sequence. "The potential of Machine Learning in vehicle real-world testing is huge. But here, of course, we first need a database," Sebastian Krapf reveals about the project.
Among others, the electric vehicle manufacturer Evum Motors is on board as a validation partner for Firefly. The development of Firefly was tested here under real conditions starting in March 2019 and subsequently developed in an agile manner. "Whole-vehicle real-world testing is a core competence of vehicle manufacturers, but in science this area has received quite little attention so far," Sebastian Krapf explains his research motive. "Due to networking, cloud technologies and high computing power, Firefly is a highly interesting development not only for the industry but also from a scientific point of view."
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