Steel is meeting the challenges of autonomous vehicle design for mobility as a service

Autonomous vehicles are going to be a gamer changer for the Mobility as a Service industry. They will transform the way we get passengers and goods from A to B and improve access to on-demand convenient public transportation. However, studies show that consumers remain anxious about the idea of self-driving vehicles. As with any kind of vehicle on our roads, occupant safety and comfort are incredibly important.

The Steel E-Motive program is developing fully autonomous vehicle concepts for mobility as a service applications. Safety is our primary concern and so we are using steel innovation to ensure that our vehicles meet global safety standards and provide passengers with a safe, comfortable and stress-free journey.

Passenger experience in an autonomous vehicle

What is a fully autonomous vehicle?

An autonomous vehicle can operate on its own without human intervention. There are six different levels of vehicle autonomy, from level 0 through to level 5. A level 5 vehicle is completely self-driving and doesn’t require any human interaction at all to make it operate. The Steel E-Motive vehicle concept is targeting this level of vehicle autonomy. Source: SAE J3016: Levels of Driving. SAE international.

Level 0 vehicle autonomy

Level 0

The driver has complete control over the vehicle and its functions. No driver assistance.
Level 1 Vehicle Autonomy

Level 1

The driver is primarily in control of the vehicle with some assistance functions eg. adaptive cruise control
Level 2 vehicle autonomy

Level 2

The driver must keep their hands on the wheel, but the system can assist in controlling speed and steering.
Level 3 vehicle autonomy

Level 3

Vehicles can drive themselves under a few ideal conditions, but a human driver is still required behind the wheel for when conditions change.
Level 4 vehicle autonomy

Level 4

Vehicles can drive themselves without human interaction under specific use cases and conditions. A human may need to step in for some driving modes.
Level 5 vehicle autonomy

Level 5

Completely autonomous driving without the need for human interaction. The Steel E-Motive program is targeting this level of vehicle autonomy.

Vehicle architecture challenges of autonomous vehicles

Full vehicle autonomy enables new vehicle architectural possibilities. The removal of the driver controls allows for a complete redesign of the interior space which puts passenger comfort and convenience at the center of the user experience. The interior layout and seating positions could include a combination of front and rear facing seating to better facilitate socialising. We anticipate that there will also be a greater emphasis on space inside the cabin. The vehicle architecture design will need to maximize space wherever possible in order to achieve this.

The main challenge with making such radical changes to the conventional vehicle architecture is that it completely changes how the structure behaves in the event of a collision. A complete rethink of load path management and careful consideration of the vehicle structural design is required to make the trade-off between vehicle safety and user requirements.

Autonomous vehicles have some unique vehicle architecture challenges that Advanced High-Strength Steel will help to address

Steel is meeting autonomous vehicle challenges for the Steel E-Motive Vehicle

The Steel E-Motive is utilizing Advanced High-Strength Steels to meet the vehicle architecture challenges of designing a fully autonomous vehicle. To meet the requirement for more space inside of the cabin, the vehicle will have a shorter front and rear end design which will achieve a more efficient structure whilst maximizing space for passengers and cargo. The strength and ductility of Advanced High-Strength Steels makes them the perfect family of materials to enable these compressed designs whilst successfully managing crash loads for passenger safety.

By from a clean sheet and using Advanced High-Strength Steels, we are able to design vehicle concepts which meet the user requirements for mobility as a service without compromising on passenger safety or performance.

Find out more about Advanced High-Strength Steel technology.

Steel Safety Crash Safety

Are autonomous vehicles safe?

With 70% of the public uncomfortable with the idea of being a passenger in an autonomous vehicle. it is clear that OEMs have a lot of work to do to assure anxious passengers of the safety of autonomous vehicles. Advanced High-Strength Steels are enabling us to create a safe vehicle structure for the Steel E-Motive vehicle concept.

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