From 20 to 25 October 2019, Luxembourg hosted workshops for the Functional Safety – ISO TC22/SC32/WG8 group, which is working on the new ISO 26262 and ISO 21448 safety standards. Its objective: to develop a unified safety standard for all automotive electrical and electronic systems.

This work aims to standardise their development and validation at the system, hardware and software level, making it possible to assess the level of safety of the product developed when it is operational on the road.

More specifically, the Luxembourg week was devoted to the preparation of a standard for the safety of autonomous vehicles.

This busy week was also an opportunity for the hundred or so delegates from all over the world to discover Luxembourg’s automotive ecosystem. “It was important to show that we have a place in this sector,” explains Anthony Auert, manager of the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster at Luxinnovation, which organised this event. “This was the first time that Luxembourg hosted such a meeting. Everything went well, even if I regret a little that there were not more Luxembourg participants interested in meeting directly with the decision-makers at the source of the development of this standard, in order to better understand what the impacts will be on their activity.”

An intensive week

Hosted by the Chamber of Commerce and La Coque, the working sessions were very productive, according to Nicolas Becker, Senior Functional Safety Expert within the PSA group and project leader of the work on the ISO/PAS 21448 standard. “The week was very intensive and rich, both in each of the working groups and in the synthesis made on Friday. We made all the decisions we needed for the next step in December.”

The experts meeting in Luxembourg approved a number of new measures on how to build the validation of autonomous vehicles and how to interact with other technologies such as V2V (vehicle-to-vehicle). The “operational” phase, when the end user takes possession of the autonomous vehicle, was also mentioned. “Until now, we had only worked exclusively on the design and validation phase up to the start of production. However, we did not yet establish standards for this operational phase. This is now the case.”

The challenge is also to develop standardisation systems that are sufficiently “open” to be able to integrate, in a few years’ time, parameters that are still unknown today. “Electric scooters didn’t exist 5 years ago,” says Mr. Becker. Our ambition is that the autonomous vehicle should be at least as safe as the human driver, and that it should be able to adapt to future developments in car traffic.”


Discussions during this week also made it possible to find consensus on definitions, starting with the definition of “Sotif” (Safety of the Intended Functionality), the abbreviation for the new ISO 21448 standard. “We had a lot of discussions to reach an almost definitive consensus on terminology,” says Rami Debouk, Technical fellow Research & Development for the General Motors group in Detroit. “At our next Editorial meeting in Minden (Nevada) in December, we will be able to formalise all these exchanges in writing.”

While the first discussions on these new standards date back to 2013, work did not officially begin until early 2019. Luxembourg’s working session was only the second of its kind, after the one in Shanghai last spring. “In the space of a few months, we have been able to make very significant progress,” says Jean-Louis Camus, Safety Manager at Ansys Systems Business Unit, a software publisher specialising in digital simulation and the development of critical systems and software. “Here in Luxembourg, we were able to agree on many new and very interesting content that will be introduced in the final document. For many years, I have attended such working groups for other standards. I can say that it is at the top in terms of efficiency.”

“A major effort has also been made on the annexes to make them more consistent with each other and also with the main body of the text,” adds Pascal Chaussis, Safety Expert, Renault. “One of the challenges we have set ourselves is to be able to cover all the functionalities of autonomous vehicles. We are making good progress in this area.”

Beyond the excellent progress of all the discussions and work, the participants were also able to appreciate the setting – most of them did not know Luxembourg at all – and the discovery of the Luxembourg ecosystem.

Luxembourg is exhibiting too

The last day – the day of the plenary session – gave this ecosystem the opportunity to present itself in a concrete way, through an exhibition during lunch and coffee break in which, in addition to the Luxembourg AutoMobility Cluster, the Ministry of the Economy, IEE, ATEEL, Luxcontrol and HITEC participated.

“I thought Luxembourg was nothing more than the financial centre of Europe,” says Rami Debouk (General Motors). “I was able to discover many interesting players and, who knows, some with whom we could well imagine working together.

“The discovery of this ecosystem is rather a pleasant surprise,” adds Pascal Chaussis. “We did not necessarily perceive Luxembourg as particularly active in the automotive sector. And yet it is!”

The next working session will take place next spring in Korea. The standard is expected to be finalised in 2022.

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