Category Archives: Engineering Service

All articles and posts regarding engineering services in english.

20. October 2017 | Engineering Service, Featured Article

FEV smart vehicle fleet heading toward SAE level 5 automated driving

Automated driving: FEV brings technology platform on the road

Automated driving: FEV brings technology platform on the road

For OEM, suppliers and developers, automation of vehicles brings with it a wealth of new tasks. At the same time, the classic functions and purchasing criteria fall ever further into the background. As a service provider, FEV supports its clients from the initial concept to start of production in its decision processes associated with these new subjects.
Since 2016, FEV has been bundling all of the steps associated with advanced, fully connected, automated vehicles in its “Smart Vehicle” Center of Excellence. Smart Vehicle includes all sorts of development fields in a rapidly-changing, highly complex environment – from sensor technologies to software algorithms all the way to electrical/electronic architectures and connectivity.
For example, FEV is developing innovative solutions in forward-looking operating strategies, connectivity and cybersecurity in addition to infotainment and driver-vehicle interaction.
The experts have now taken an important demonstration and development vehicle onto the road. Sébastien Christiaens, department manager at FEV, has been keeping track of this project from the Aachen location and he discussed the background with SPECTRUM.

>> Our goal was to develop standardized interfaces and use them to obtain a modular, state-of-the-art development platform

Mr. Christiaens, for a few weeks an automated demonstrator vehicle from FEV has been driving on the roads or on stretches of road for which authorization has been given. What is the background of this demonstration vehicle?

To be accurate, there are three such vehicles driving in the world. The automated smart vehicles are part of an FEV project that we are conducting with our colleagues in the US, Poland, Turkey and our company headquarters in Aachen. Our goal in doing so is to bundle our global expertise and allow others to experience it in a fully automatic development vehicle as a basis for further development, but also for benchmarking. The vehicles show the current status quo that we worked out in recent years in various projects and are now putting together in one vehicle. The smart vehicles thus form the first automatic FEV fleet that we created without any customer orders.

It was possible to take a look at the vehicle driving at this year’s Aachen Colloquium Automobile and Engine Technology. What was to see there?

Right now, the vehicle can safely travel without a driver on a given stretch and the vehicle can suitably react to any events. Thanks to the object recognition implemented, traffic signs are recognized, as are things and people, and appropriate driving maneuvers are started.
At the Aachen Colloquium, we streamed the trip to our exhibition booth. The streaming was done strictly through the vehicle’s network connection. In the process, the vehicle sends data to the cloud. The Aldenhoven Testing Center, where the demonstrator is headed, offers ideal conditions for doing that. At present, an urban testing area is being set up for mobility research. Thanks to the Vodafone-5G Mobility Lab that is also included, this area also has a high-performance network. That is needed to process the large amounts of data.

For example, which sensors are integrated in the vehicle?

We have integrated extensive sensors, including radar, GPS, different types of cameras as well as differential GPS and LIDAR and a vehicle-2-network connection. Thanks to these sensors and interfaces, we are able to perceive the immediate environment of the vehicle as well as to anticipate the oncoming road and traffic conditions on a longer range. Using intentional redundancies in varying technologies, we can thus eliminate the shortcomings of one type of sensor by enriching and comparing the results using those from other systems. This intelligent combination of the different sensor information, referred to as sensor fusion, is a key element in the vehicle environment detection and localization process. Another of our goals was to develop standardized interfaces and use them to obtain a modular, state-of-the-art development platform. Thus, individual sensors can be swapped out with as little effort as possible in later benchmarking activities.


What is the basis for issuing driving commands?

The driving commands themselves are managed using a “decision making algorithm” we developed ourselves. This algorithm has three main parts: perception, planning and decision/action.
This algorithm ensures that the vehicle moves safely. In doing so, we draw amongst other on the expertise of our American colleagues, who already successfully completed automation projects in the past. As a modular development platform, the vehicle is actually equipped with two types of powerful embedded controller hardware. This allows us to test and compare different types of control algorithms, for example a rule based approach and a machine learning/artificial intelligence approach.

If sensors collect environmental data, communication between the vehicle and this environment is surely just an additional logistics step. To what extent have you already planned this aspect?

Communication between the vehicle and its environment is mandatory for automated vehicles. Even today, the vehicles already have a Vehicle-to-Everything („V2X“) connection. The intelligent connection unit – abbreviated as iCU – is based on microservice architecture and processes data and information from all sorts of control units and sensors. The FEV iCU is in a position to process data from vehicle-to-vehicle („V2V“) communication via DSRC. Thanks to the microservice architecture, integration of corresponding 5G standards („C-V2X“) will be possible directly, as soon as they are available. Intermediate data aggregation and data conversion services harmonize the data sets and formats, which often differ a lot from each other.

>> With our Cyber Security Gateway, we offer an important tool to prevent cyber attacks

How are you handling cyber- security when you do this?

Cybersecurity in vehicles is actually one of the greatest challenges. As long as the vehicle lacks a vehicle-2-X connection, the number of ports for attack is still relatively easy to look at. The biggest danger comes from the OBD interface but also from the infotainment system. As soon as the vehicle starts working within a network, the sources of danger grow exponentially. With our Cyber Security Gateway, we offer an important tool to prevent cyberattacks. The cybersecurity gateway is linked with the vehicle’s communications bus in order to detect and prevent malicious attacks. It can also be used as a firewall between external interfaces and the vehicle bus. In addition, FEV works with leading world manufacturers to implement so called Hardware Security Module –HSM- and TPM technologies, known as Trusted Platform Modules, for the automotive industry for secure booting and secure over the air (OTA) software updates to name a few applications.

The cybersecurity gateway is linked with the vehicle’s communications bus in order to detect and prevent malicious attacks. It can also be used as a firewall between external interfaces and the vehicle bus.

What steps are now coming up with the smart vehicle fleet?

As a powerful tool to address important challenges such as integration of new functions, interfaces, and components, these vehicles offer a broad range of possibilities for FEV as well as for our partners and customers.
At first, they have an important role in the development and improvement of our control algorithm as they offer a flexible platform for our engineers to make their innovations in ADAS and automated driving features more tangible. This flexible platform can obviously also be offered to our partners and customers as basis for commonly developed “Proof of Concepts” to demonstrate new technologies or features for example.
As already mentioned above, our automated vehicle fleet is heavily involved in our benchmarking activities. Both for sensor benchmarking as well as for system and overall vehicle benchmarking.
For benchmarking, the most important part is reproducibility of results and test runs, and automation is very important for that. In this case, our smart vehicle is not the technology platform for the test vehicle but is acting as the testing tool. Driving maneuvers of the target vehicle can be automated and done reproducibly and it can be verified that the test object operates reliably.
Finally yet importantly, the vehicles are also supporting the overall calibration, testing and validation activities we offer for ADAS and AD development. For example, we are working on integrating these vehicles into our virtual testing tool chain and environment, among other things as vehicle in the loop platform. FEV also uses these vehicles as a means to develop its Big Data tools and services through extensive data collection and analysis
In general, our vehicle fleet will constantly evolve, helping us to accelerate the delivery of innovative solutions for our customers. The fact that we are developing these vehicles worldwide definitely helps to provide a global answer to questions related to largescale deployment of this technology.

Mr. Christiaens, thank you for the interview!

>> In perspective, we will use the smart vehicle fleet not just to do further development of the individual systems, but also as an important testing tool for level 4 and level 5 functions



8. August 2017 | Engineering Service

Conquering the Ever Growing Electronics Technologies in the Vehicle

FEV’s Smart Vehicle Center of Excellence

FEV’s Smart Vehicle Center of Excellence

The features of next generation Smart Vehicle programs pose a major challenge to the automotive industry as OEMs race to develop systems which enable reliable, efficient integration of vehicle and cloud-based ecosystems. The FEV team is capable and experienced to meet customer’s needs and expectations while delivering a cost-effective and reliable solution through the utilization of subject matter and domain expertise and specifically the industry first usage of true Smart Vehicle HIL systems.

To focus and enhance FEV’s capabilities in the areas of Infotainment, Telematics, ADAS, and Autonomous Driving, FEV recently formed the Global Center of Excellence Smart Vehicle. Included in that are also such key topics as Functional Safety and Cyber Security.

Barriers to a Successful Program

Each generation of automotive electronics, none more than any of the Smart Vehicle related areas, presents product teams with the challenge of finding new ways to address an old industry paradox: Develop new features and functions in a shorter amount of time and at a lower cost.
Within the world of smart vehicles, these demands require development to be performed by teams, distributed worldwide, working in an agile development environment with requirements and standards that in many cases are little more than a guideline.

Inevitably, integrating connectivity or ADAS solutions from multiple suppliers will result in the identification of incompatibilities between components and systems. The issue is further complicated by the compromises which are often made in the requirements development phase of a project. With deadlines looming, OEMs and Tiers are often placed in the unenviable position of haggling over who is the “least wrong”.

Proven Leaders in Smart Vehicle Integration Services

The above scenario illustrates why the system integrator role is critical to the success of smart vehicle related programs. FEV’s experience in all phases of product development has positioned us to be the leader in this space.

FEV’s system integration processes and tools enable and empower individuals from multi-vendor teams to work together. The key to this service is utilizing smart vehicle component and system experienced technical project management and subject matter expert professionals who can synergistically work with resources ranging from software developers to validation engineers. These unique FEV resources technically understand the issues and have the ability to anticipate and communicate any impacts to all stakeholders.

Process examples:

  • Support engineering to remove all technical/non-technical roadblocks
  • Use FEV’s Connected System Thinking methodology to provide component as well as system level expertise and experience
  • Task prioritization to maximize efficiency
  • Identification of program issues which require escalation to mitigate time drain
  • Application of an integrated and effective approach towards defect management and triage
  • Ensure validation resources diagnose the root cause not the symptom

Powerful Tools

To support the design and engineering capabilities with testing and integration services, FEV uses powerful test tools developed over many years. “With test platform tools such as the HMIts (Human Machine Interface Test System) and TST (Telematics System Tester) in our arsenal, we have a distinct advantage in the discovery of a defects root cause”, explained Stephan Tarnutzer, Vice President of Electronics at FEV North America and Global Center of Excellence Smart Vehicle at FEV. “These test tools are developed by our internal resources, which allows us to reconfigure each tool rapidly to characterize and identify root cause when new defects are discovered.”

Finally, as a “one-stop shop” for a system integration and validation project, FEV’s project management and validation teams can lean on FEV’s in-house embedded hardware and software development teams to consult on the deep dive issues which pose the greatest risk to program timing.


FEV’s multi-phased approach to eff iciently integrate a telematics solution as part of an overall Smart Vehicle ecosystem:

Phase 1: Specification Development

Collaborative workshops with customers to develop robust Telematics Requirements, i.e. TCU, TSP, feature implementation, Cyber Security, Functional Safety, etc.

Phase 2: Project Planning

Combined effort with customers to create program timing and milestones.

Phase 3: Project Initiation

Vendor Kickoff /Expectations, Test Methodology Development, etc.

Phase 4: System Integration Services

End-to-End bench testing and modeling, drive testing, root causing defects, etc.

Test system - FEV Smart Vehicle

FEV has developed an advanced automated HMI test system enabling 24/7 validation of telematics enabled multi-media








TST - FEV Smart Vehicle

FEV’s preeminent Smart Vehicle test center featuring the robust Telematics System Testers (TST) which simulates the “connected vehicle” in a lab environment.












28. June 2017 | Engineering Service

The future drives electric?

FEV study examines drivetrain topologies in 2030

FEV study examines drivetrain topologies in 2030

The automotive industry is under pressure. We are experiencing major – even disruptive – changes. The public perception of the automobile is changing and demands ecologically sustainable drivetrains. In the context of this market dynamic, electrification of the drivetrain has clearly set the stage for the public discussion and is also considered the strongest driving force in the industry. However, the sales volume for electrified vehicles is still strongly inhibited by high costs, weak infrastructure and short range. In 2016, less than 1% of all vehicles sold worldwide were primarily electrically driven. Against this background, market forecasts
are certainly risky. But, despite this, an attempt has been made to assess how powertrain populations will develop in the world’s most important markets. It becomes clear that, despite the uncertainties mentioned, some reliable and central conclusions can still be made.

This market forecast focuses on the most important markets worldwide: Europe, the USA and China. It is based on a comprehensive study by FEV Consulting GmbH, which includes the following aspects:

  • Legal framework conditions such as CO2 emission limits
  • Regional and temporary driving bans for vehicles with combustion engines
  • Specific strategies of the automotive manufacturers who are dominant in each market
  • Development forecasts for important drivetrain components like batteries
  • Infrastructure and development scenarios for fast charging technology
  • „Forecasts of buying behavior based on market studies and socio-phenomenological developments, such as urbanization and car sharing (shared use as an alternative to ownership)


Drivetrain Topologies in Europe

The CO2 limits are continually being lowered in the European, American, and Chinese markets. The level of allowable CO2 emissions, which is lower on an absolute basis in Europe and China compared to the USA, is an indication of a strong need for electrification in those two markets. The anchor points were set in 2016 (today), 2020, 2025 and 2030. By 2020, start-stop functional systems (micro hybrid) will almost completely replace traditional purely combustion engine-driven powertrains. The development of more electrified topologies is growing rapidly, relative to today’s very low sales volumes, but remains at a low level. Therefore, the sum of the market share of mild hybrids (48V), full hybrids, plug-in hybrids and battery-electric vehicles will be just over 10%. In the subsequent 5 years, a distinctive growth in mild hybrids (2025: 33% market share), plug-in hybrids (2025: 13% market share) and battery-electric vehicles (2025: 8% market share) is expected. The more distant view towards 2030 is, today, still uncertain. The interaction of the development of the plug-in hybrid market share and the sales volumes for battery-powered vehicles is not yet predictable and is primarily linked to the development progress of battery technology (energy density and price), the development of the charging infrastructure, and the development of oil prices. An additional large influence is attributed to the “zero emission zones” currently being discussed publicly. If emission-free urban zones are broadly implemented, it is to be expected that this development will strongly encourage the purchase of purely electric vehicles in cities. Irrespective of this uncertainty, the following can be safely forecast for 2030:

  • The majority of all vehicles sold in Europe will still have a combustion engine in 2030 (75 to 80%).
  • A very high proportion of these combustion engines (about 90%) will be operated in hybrid powertrains.

Graphic - drivetrain topologies in 2030

Market forecast for powertrain shares for Europe from 2016 to 2030 (new passenger car registrations)







Graphic - drivetrain topologies in 2030





Drivetrain Topologies in the USA

When market expectations for Europe are compared to those for the USA, a divergent picture emerges, which can be summarized as follows:

  • In the near future, sales in the USA will be geared towards the long ranges associated with liquid fuels and large combustion engines (6-cylinder and 8-cylinder)
  • Generally speaking, demands for CO2 emissions reduction take a back seat to reducing pollutant emissions, allowing a lower degree of electrification
  • In contrast to Europe, CO2 emissions associated with electricity generation are increasingly being taken into consideration in the assessment of vehicle emissions (trend towards “well-to-wheel” instead of “tank-to-wheel” approaches)

These aspects lead to lower electrification rates for the market in North America, compared to Europe. Consequently, it is expected that micro hybrid drives will only be fully rolled out by 2025. Additionally, it can be assumed that by 2030, 85 to 90% of all vehicles sold will still be equipped with combustion engines. The picture that has been painted can be expanded by the additional analysis of the Chinese market.


Drivetrain Topologies in China

The market expectations for China relative to Europe can also be summarized as core trends:

  • Investments in infrastructure and strict legislation, such as driving bans for combustion engine-driven vehicles in large cities, strongly encourage powertrain electrification
  • Already today, many future passenger car buyers in China drive electric two-wheel vehicles, so their behavioral pattern is a good match for electric drivetrains
  • At the same time, China has a highly cost-sensitive market segment that will, for a long time, be driven by purely combustion engine-driven passenger cars

These trends suggest a pronounced coexistence of internal combustion engine drivetrains and battery-electric vehicles in China. By 2030, only 50% to (a maximum of) 75% of all vehicles sold will have a powertrain equipped with an internal combustion engine. Concurrently, the degree of electrification of 90% of these drives will be limited to micro and mild hybrids, making the combustion engine the dominant drive unit.
In summary, it can be inferred that, even with the electrification of the powertrain increasing sharply, the majority of all drives will still be equipped with combustion engines in 2030. These combustion engines will have to work in a variety of drive topologies.


Graphic - drivetrain topologies in 2030

Market forecast for powertrain shares for China from 2016 to 2030 (new passenger car registrations)