Autonomous driving

A new electronic module safeguards self-driving vehicles against the total failure of onboard electrical systems

Research News / December 01, 2020

Autonomous electric vehicles draw power from two sources: a high-voltage battery and, additionally, a conventional 12-volt battery that supplies the vehicle when idling or in high-load situations while driving. Safety-critical systems such as brakes and steering can therefore be connected to two sources of power. But what happens when one of these has a fault – a short circuit, for example? In order to safeguard against total failure and thereby a potentially dangerous situation, researchers from the Fraunhofer Institute for Reliability and Microintegration IZM have joined with partners on the HiBord project to develop an electronic disconnect device that is able to isolate any such faults in vehicle electrical systems. This module has already been successfully tested in a BMW i3.