Currently no other topic is being as hotly debated in the automotive sector as highly automated driving: ­digitization makes it possible. While the technical prerequisites are already highly advanced, test methods, approval procedures, and rules and regulations are still in their early stages. A case for TÜV SÜD: With an international project team, the technical service provider is at the forefront of facilitating the breakthrough of new technology relating to autonomous driving.

The silver-grey car drives at a steady speed in the left lane of the highway. As if by magic, the steering wheel makes slight corrections. The car accelerates and brakes automatically, adapting to the traffic flow. Yet a message appears in the display after only a few minutes, asking the driver to put their hands back on the steering wheel. Scenes like this are already taking place thousands of times a day in Germany and represent stage 2 (of 5 stages) on the way to fully autonomous driving. The first cars classified as “stage 3-ready” have been on sale since the end of 2017. Theoretically, they can drive independently on the highway at a speed of up to 120 km/h. However, authorization is still pending. Dr. Houssem Abdellatif who heads the division for highly-automated driving at TÜV SÜD is intensively involved with his team, but is also thinking much further ahead – to the fully automated car.

Success using the hybrid approach

With autonomy comes increasing complexity – to an enormous degree. According to experts, about 100 million scenarios have to be run through in order to test a single fully-automated driving function. Given the fact that there is so much data in developing safe test methods, the TÜV SÜD team follow a hybrid approach: physical testing on test routes and virtual simulations in laboratories. Since modern cars are increasingly evolving to become computers on wheels needing regular updates, the focus is not only on “classical” functional safety, but also data security. With success: TÜV SÜD is the only expert organization in Germany involved in the Federal Ministry of Economics’ Pegasus Project, and as strategic partner to the Singaporean government in the Cetran test project. Both initiatives aim to define the framework for future autonomous driving.

Video with Benjamin Koller and Robert Matawa: Driving instructor for the computer needed

Three questions for
Dr. Houssem Abdellatif

  1. TÜV SÜD is following a hybrid approach of virtual simulation and physical tests for the type-approval for highly automated cars. Has the concept proven itself?
    The approach is the ­correct way to ensure the safety of complex assistance systems. It is impossible to represent all driving situations in physical tests. Additional data models provide a broad range of validation.
  2. How great is the threat of hacker attacks?
    Cyber security is an important focus of our project work. As with any connected technology the automated car is also at risk. We are therefore working closely with car manufacturers, telecommunication companies, infrastructure providers as well as public bodies.
  3. With your support, the Federal state of Bavaria was able to introduce the first autonomous bus service on public roads in Germany. How important are such practical projects for your work?
    Very important. With the successful individual approval of the bus we were able to gain valuable knowledge for the future approval of such vehicles. And we were also able to refine the first guidelines for how automated driving in general can be introduced on the roads.

Dr. Houssem Abdellatif is Head of Highly-automated driving at TÜV SÜD

Two experts from TÜV SÜD’s Autonomous Driving team: Robert Matawa (r.), Head of Test Department Autonomous ­Driving, and expert Benjamin Koller.


“stage 3-ready” cars can reach speeds of up to

120 km/h

on the highway

100 Mio.

scenarios have to
be run through in
order to test a
single fully-automated
driving function