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World Metrology Day 2017: Measurement in the transport sector

Whether the mode is road, rail, sea or air, the transport sector has developed in sync with demographics and globalization. In 2050, people's mobility across the world will exceed its year 2000 level by three- or fourfold.

This heightened mobility raises a number of questions relative to transport system safety and reliability. Such questions have long been addressed by LNE.

Through the lens of this World Metrology Day, year 2017 shines the spotlight on transportation. Measurement is such a fixture in our daily routines, as it is in our transport systems. LNE plays a key role, in lockstep with the world's other eminent control bodies, towards addressing measurement issues that arise in our daily lives, both individually and collectively. This role is even more pressing given LNE's position as France's leading metrology entity. Effective transport-related measurements serve to greatly improve safety and reliability, and LNE's input has been critical to these efforts.

Self-driving cars: Co-creating and enhancing the reliability of tomorrow's vehicles

LNE is partner to the SVA project sponsored by IRT System"x, which has been championed since 2015 by the Nouvelle France Industrial reindustrialization plan. The challenge herein is to promote an innovative and competitive solution capable of verifying the safety of self-driving vehicles, i.e. via numerical simulation. Such an approach entails both developing a methodology, a platform and a set of simulation tools for automakers and parts manufacturers and then modeling vehicle components and the vehicular environment.
In 2016, LNE established a method for characterizing onboard radar sensors and evaluating the performance of algorithms, with the goal of testing their reliability when subject to various influences. The laboratory has worked on these breakthroughs in close coordination with both Continental and Oktal. The other industrial players involved in this project are: ALL4tech, Apsys, Assystem, the PSA and Renault Groups, Sector, and Valeo. Both the CEA and INRIA research institutes are stakeholders as well.

New evaluation methods devised for the autonomous vehicle

Artificial intelligence (AI), simulation campaigns to ensure the safety of self-driving cars, robotics are some of the areas where LNE's research prowess has contributed to certifying the ability of AI-based systems to better secure the vehicles of tomorrow. The self-driving car's decision-making lies at the heart of current challenges.
The emphasis here is to derive common methods for comparing the various solutions potentially integrated into such vehicles. This task involves both developing the requisite technologies and validating vital vehicle components. Several of the assigned LNE teams have already proposed an initial decision-making validation protocol for the automated speed control systems in order to verify that inter-vehicle safety distances are being respected.
The laboratory has created the references used to determine the exact time when a vehicle is no longer respecting the programmed safety conditions. These references have been incorporated into the test simulation system, developed by LNE, to certify vehicle decision-making.

The SVA project has been undertaken as a mission sponsored by a Technological Research Institute (IRT-SystemX), in conjunction with France's major carmakers and auto parts manufacturers as well as small and medium-sized firms specialized in operating safety features. This project is intended, through application of numerical simulation techniques, to overcome the challenge raised by complexities involved in demonstrating self-driving vehicle safety.

Mechatronics: Improving system reliability and safety

Applicable to the automobile industry, yet also to aeronautics, the field of mechatronics is aimed at achieving "a physical action supervised by an intelligent brick" in associating electronics, mechanics, automation and computer science. Mechatronics has become increasingly widespread within the transport sector. This growing integration of complex systems raises doubts over reliability. LNE has built analytical methodologies to both streamline and reduce the cost of designing future mechatronic equipment.
Thanks to the project labeled "FiRST-MFP" (acronym for "producing more reliable and stronger high-powered mechatronic technological systems"), in which LNE's participation extends through June 2017, predictive models have been generated to calculate the rate of defectiveness among certain components and systems.
In partnership with industrial players like Valeo, Thales, Safran and NXP, LNE is heavily focused on identifying and experimentally analyzing the defect mechanisms inherent in electronic components, such as film and electrochemical capacitors or diodes.
Objective: Highlight the potential degradations subsequent to completing highly accelerated life testing. In this pursuit, an analytical methodology dedicated to each type of component has been implemented. Among the techniques selected, let's cite: construction analysis, chemical analysis of components by means of spectroscopic or chromatographic methods, in addition to thermal analysis, examination on a metallographic cross-section, and SEM (scanning electron microscopy) observations.


We are faced with the task of responding to the two major challenges arising from the transport sector, namely reliability and safety. The emphases laid out by LNE and the testing and analysis services made available to industry are empowering companies to better evaluate the reliability of specific components and systems.

Thomas GRENON, Managing Director

LNE contact

Press contact : Valérie MULOT - +33 (0)1 40 43 40 93 - valerie.mulot@lne.fr

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