13. July 2020
Joint research project KI Absicherung

AI function modules for highly automated driving and their safety approval – joint research project “KI Absicherung – Safe AI for Automated Driving” has begun


An autonomous vehicle must be able to perceive its environment and react to it accordingly. This environment recognition must be able to interpret the movements of other road users, such as pedestrians, and anticipate their upcoming actions. In highly automated vehicles, these tasks are increasingly performed by artificial intelligence (AI). Such AI modules based on machine learning are thus becoming a key technology.

One of the biggest challenges in integrating these technologies into highly automated cars is ensuring the standard functional safety of previous systems. That is, existing and established safety processes cannot simply be transferred to machine learning methods.

“To me, enabling artificial intelligence to train algorithms on the basis of virtual worlds is the top class of digital visualization. While many of our previous use cases only required perfecting visual quality, there is another component, the physical correctness of a virtual world. In the course of the further development of autonomous driving, there are still many hurdles that we have to overcome together. On the one hand, the focus is on the sheer mass of physical test kilometers, which we are successively replacing with virtual simulations.  On the other hand, we have the opportunity to implement scenarios and situations based on our virtual world that are very difficult or impossible to test in the real world. These two aspects exemplify the advantages of this technology. To contribute to this is a great opportunity for us to show how versatile data-based visualization can be used.” Kian Saemian, Vice President Future Technologies, Mackevision – Part of Accenture Interactive


In order to solve this challenge, the research project KI Absicherung was launched on July 1, 2019, and consists of 25 partner companies and institutions under the leadership of Volkswagen AG. The consortium is pursuing the goal of establishing a stringent and verifiable chain of arguments for the validation and approval of AI functional modules in the context of highly automated driving.

For this purpose, the project will create a process chain with open standardized interfaces for the generation of high-quality and reproducible synthetic training and test data sets. Furthermore, AI algorithms for pedestrian recognition will be programmed and mainly trained and tested with these generated synthetic data. Thus, exemplary methods and measures can be developed, which are suitable to substantiate the chain of argumentation for the principle of validation with measurable performance and safety measures for AI based functional modules. With the help of the knowledge gained in the project, the basis for an industry consensus on the safeguarding of such AI function modules is to be laid in dialogue with standardization committees and certification bodies.



In the KI Absicherung project, leading experts from industry and science from the fields of AI algorithms, 3D visualization, and animation as well as functional safety, which up to now have operated largely independently of each other, are working together for the first time. Over the next three years, they will work together to develop solutions for more targeted observation, evaluation, and testing of AI function modules and correspondingly reliable and transparent safeguarding.

The research project is part of the German government’s AI strategy, which aims to establish Germany as a location for the new key technologies in the long term and, among other things, to secure the market leadership of the German automotive industry with regard to automated driving in the long term. The project is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy with 19.2 million euros.



About the project KI-Absicherung

Duration: 1 July 2019 – 30 June 2022, 36 Month
Budget in total: 41 Mil. EUR

25 Partners

Volkswagen AG (consortium leader), AUDI AG, BMW Group, Opel Automobile GmbH

Continental Automotive GmbH, Hella Aglaia Mobile Vision GmbH, Robert Bosch GmbH, Valeo Schalter und Sensoren GmbH, Visteon Electronics Germany GmbH, ZF Friedrichshafen AG

Technology provider:
AID Autonomous Intelligent Driving GmbH, Automotive Safety Technologies GmbH, Intel Deutschland GmbH, Mackevision Medien Design GmbH, Merantix AG, Luxoft GmbH, umlaut systems GmbH, QualityMinds GmbH

Research partner:
Fraunhofer IAIS, Bergische Universität Wuppertal, Deutsches Forschungszentrum für Künstliche Intelligenz, Deutsches Zentrum für Luft- und Raumfahrt, FZI Forschungszentrum Informatik, TU München, Universität Heidelberg

External technology partners: BIT Technology Solutions GmbH, neurocat GmbH, understand ai GmbH

Project management: European Center for Information and Communication Technologies – EICT GmbH


Thank you to our project team! Kian Saemian, Dr. Markus Huber, Otto Kopp, Christian Zilliken, Fabrice Klaudt, Markus Bartnick

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