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Safety module for autonomous vehicles

(Schönberg, Suomela 1995-)

The safety module version I

The main reason for starting this project was an accident that happened to Automation Laboratory’s autonomous vehicle ARSKA. During a test run the I/O-card of ARSKA jammed probably due to a peak in the power supply. Monitoring the power supplies and/or the actuators controlled by the I/O-card with an independent module would have prevent the accident. At the accident time there was two persons ready to push hazard stop buttons in their hands but the situation was so fast that the manual stops were late. In this project we try to map the actual safety risk and the needs of safety systems in different applications. A main part in the project is to designe a safety module making the ordinary emergency stop much more reliably and faster than a human manages to do. This safety unit is designed for automation applications and especially for autonomous vehicles. It is used together with the normal hazard stop. The task of the safety module is to give faster response of hardware and software problems than the manual hazard stop do. One essential part of the project was to collect experiences from people working with automation. This was done with a confidential questionnaire.

The project is funded by The Finnish Work Environment Fund, RoboVeh ltd. and Helsinki University of Tehnology.