Topics at AZT

In research projects and studies, AZT's experts regularly examine various issues relating to automotive technology and road safety. The results are used in internal training measures and processes as well as in public publications and campaigns. 


  • UNECE WP.29 faces significant challenges in formulating UN regulations for the approval, homologation and operation of automated and autonomous vehicles. Out of 13 important safety issues that need to be regulated in detail, one main topic is the recording of accident and incident data to clarify accidents involving automated vehicles in mixed traffic. In addition the basis for the clarification of traffic offences is to be created. 

    An informal IWG EDR / DSSAD working group is currently working intensively on the definition of an Event Data Recorder (EDR) for conventional vehicles (mandatory in the EU from 2022) and an EDR for automated vehicles. As a member of the informal working group, the Allianz Center for Technology contributes the position of Allianz and the perspective of the insurance industry.

    On the one hand, this paper presents the relevance and the need for EDR data based on real insurance claims on German highways. On the other hand, it examines which data an EDR should record in the future to ensure objective accident investigation within a reasonable amount of time.

    The research work was technically supported by the University of Technology Ingolstadt (THI), the European Association for Accident Research and Accident Reconstruction (EVU) and the TÜV Süd.

  • Example of a tool for front radar calibration


    Especially in the last few years the market penetration of these driver assistance systems has risen significantly. The assessment and repair of damages is more complex as the additional technology is installed in these vehicles.
     
    Under the lead of the AZT, a joint resolution on damage repair for vehicles with driver assistance systems was therefore elaborated together with representatives of vehicle manufacturers, body and paint associations, assessors and insurance companies. The aim of this resolution is to establish a common understanding for all parties involved in the claims process with regard to a technically correct approach to the assessment and repair of driver assistance systems. The annual meeting of the German Committee for Standards in Paint and Bodywork (Deutsche Kommission für Lack und Karosserieinstandsetzung) took place at the AZT on March 3rd 2020. One of the outcomes was the adoption of “the resolution on damage repair for vehicles with driver assistance systems“.
    A free copy of the original resolution in German language can be downloaded here.
    An English translation of this document is also available.

  • In times of increasing automation and connection these data become more and more extensive. Since vehicle assistance systems today do not prevent every accident but can certainly have a significant influence, event-related data from the vehicle has become absolutely essential for accident investigation. In Germany, the amendment to the Road Traffic Act (§ 63a StVG) has for the first time regulated data processing, including data recording in the sense of a driving mode memory (DSSAD), for highly and fully automated vehicles. However the data elements defined therein are not sufficient to clarify the causes of accidents and the associated liability issues. The General Safety Regulation of the EU, revised in 2019, requires the storage of event and driving mode data from 2022 onwards. However the specification of this data by a UNECE regulation is still pending. 

    Allianz SE has taken a position on this issue and is claiming for the storage of a standardized minimum set of data following an accident as well as the transparent handling of this data. 

    Enclosed is a short video interview with Dr. Lauterwasser on the storage and use of data, especially in automated driving:

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    Principles of the data custodian procedure

  • Source: CES®

    DVR delegation at the BMW stand of CES, from left to right, Clemens Klinke, DVR Vice President, Member of the Board of Management DEKRA SE; Dr. Johann Gwehenberger, Deputy Chairman of the DVR Board of Management Committee for Automotive Engineering, AZT; Prof. Dr. Walter Eichendorf, President DVR, Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser, Managing Director AZT; Prof. Kurt Bodewig, DVR Vice President, DVW President; Patrick Fruth, CEO TÜV Süd Auto Service GmbH; Prof. Klaus Kompass, BMW Head of Vehicle Safety 


    The CES (formal known as the Consumer Electronics Show) is one of the world's largest trade fairs for consumer electronics. Due to the increasing merging of automotive engineering, mechatronics, electronics, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, robotics and information and communication technology, the show has become one of the most important industry meetings for the automotive industry for about a decade, especially with regard to electromobility and automation. This is partly because german and international manufacturers and suppliers have shifted many developments relevant to automated driving to the USA and China. 

    The main objective of the DVR delegation was to view and realistically assess the current developments and innovations in the field of road safety worldwide. In a tight program and many presentations, e.g. at the booths of Audi, Bosch, BMW, Continental, Mercedes and Valeo, the DVR delegation members discussed the safety potential and possible implementation scenarios of automated driving functions with the experts. In this context, it became clear that since the still rather rudimentary developments with full-bodied announcements in January 2016, there are now often functions for automated driving that are ready for series production. At the same time the estimation of future developments has become much more realistic. The focus has changed from fully autonomous driving to cooperative driving as well as partially and fully automated functions in defined areas (so-called Operational Design Domains). This development is promising for road safety on the way to "Vision Zero". In particular the discussions showed the increasing performance of the systems through further developed sensor technology, networking and powerful data processing in the coming vehicle generations.


    Source: CES®

    Elaine Chao, US Secretary of Transportation, presented for the first time the new report of the US government on the technology of automated driving ("Automated Vehicles 4.0").

  • When transporting a Christmas tree on the vehicle roof, make sure that it is securely fastened with lashing straps (see picture). Simple rubber expanders are not sufficient.

  • One of the points to consider when buying: wheel size


    E-Scooters are right on trend. More and more people are discovering the small electric scooters for themselves. What should you consider when buying these devices with electric motor?

    Since June 2019, electrically powered scooters have been permitted in Germany and are offered in large quantities as rental equipment. Matching the Christmas business, e-scooters for private use are now also available.

    For carefree enjoyment, the e-scooter must first be insured and the license plate obtained must be affixed. This is because anyone who goes into public traffic without insurance is committing a criminal offence for driving without insurance cover. Furthermore, the driver must be at least 14 years old.

    Experts at the Allianz Center for Technology have looked into the question of what to look out for when making a choice. The focus was on safe installation and operational safety, but the legal regulations governing the operation of e-scooters were also taken into account. The AZT experts provide the following advice and information:

    • E-scooters are motor vehicles, not toys, and two people may not ride on the device.

    • A General Operating License (ABE) with type plate, vehicle identification number and a factory plate must be available.

    • The insurance must be taken out by the owner.

    • E-scooters are limited to 20 km/h and may only be driven from the age of 14.

    • An alcohol per mille limit of 0.3 ‰ and 0.5 ‰ applies as for the car. Since e-scooters are motor vehicles, the driving licence can be withdrawn if the limit is exceeded, as with a car.

    • E-scooters must be driven on the cycle path or, if this is not available, on the roadway.

    • E-scooters must not be used on sidewalks and in pedestrian zones, even with the engine off.

    • E-scooters may not be used in public parks, unlike the bicycle/pedelec.


    So that you can travel safely with your e-scooter and enjoy it for a long time, the technical construction should meet certain requirements, some of which go beyond the legal requirements:

    • Watch out for large wheels, smaller wheels have more unstable driving characteristics.

    • Pneumatic tyres are preferable because of their better handling characteristics.

    • Make sure that one of the two prescribed brakes is on the front wheel, because the rear brake increases the braking value considerably.

    • Energy recovery (recuperation) cannot be considered as a brake as it may not be available when the battery is fully charged.

    • All folding mechanisms should be robust and free from play and should not be able to release while driving - ensure that they are securely locked.

    • Eliminate additionally attached lights from the bicycle accessories. An integrated light can be switched centrally and can be powered from the drive battery at any time.

    • While observing the maximum load, also consider your backpack.

    • For theft protection, there should be a fixed eyelet for locking.


    After purchase, most e-scooters still need to be assembled. This should definitely be done by a specialist to ensure safe operation. "At the AZT, we found defects in the e-scooters under consideration which clearly required expert rework, for example, axles mounted at an angle and fittings which were not engaged, tensioned brakes, non-adjusted folding mechanisms and unsecured screw connections on the handlebar grips as well as incorrect air pressure," says Reinkemeyer.

    However, even as a user, you should regularly check all externally accessible screws for tightness - these can come loose during normal riding, as the test samples of the AZT showed. As the name e-scooter suggests, electrical safety also plays a major role. Many models are operated with the common Li-Ion batteries, which react sensitively to incorrect handling and mechanical stress and can then also catch fire. Therefore the following safety rules apply:

    • Li-Ion batteries may only be charged with the supplied charger!

    • Special care must be taken after hard blows to the battery housing or after its deformation. Then the e-scooter may no longer be used or charged and should be checked at a specialist dealer.

    • Damaged cables must be repaired or replaced immediately, including the charger.

    • Totally important: Always use the dust cover of the charger connection, or replace it immediately after loss to avoid short circuits when charging!


    Allianz recommends

    • Watch for a sturdy design with big wheels and front brakes.

    • Let a professional install the e-scooter.

    • Check the condition of your e-scooter and charger regularly.

    • Respect the safety rules for handling the charger and battery.

    • Practise driving and manoeuvring before driving in traffic.

    • Drive only with lights and helmet.



      This information can also be found in our press release (in German language only).

    Pictures

    lock-up option and drum brake at the front

    sturdy folding mechanism

    larger wheels are usually also wider and therefore safer, e.g. when driving over manhole covers

    rear disc brake and insurance number plate

    built-in lighting

    dust cover for the charging connection

    pneumatic tires with valve

  • Presentation of Repair & ADAS functionality by Dr. Lauterwasser


    As representatives of the AZT, Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser and Carsten Reinkemeyer have participated the conference. This is the first time that the RCAR annual conference was held in China, and according to Haimao Jia, president of CIRI, it is a great honor for the institute to host this event and welcome RCAR members and their partners to Beijing.

     

    42 experts from the insurers' research institutes dealt with the following significant topics, among others:

    Jaewon Lee (KART) from Korea now leads the ADAS working group which deals with the effects of the repair methodology on sensor technology; calibration methodology and diagnostic equipment.

    In relation to electromobility the current damage of batteries and its effects on the insurance industry were discussed with regard to a) the manufacturer's regulation and b) the reduction effect of insurers.

    Exchange on the current status of autonomous and connected vehicles & cyber security.


  • The e-mobility experts from Cleanelectric discussed, among other things, the special properties of electric vehicles and their influence on crash behaviour, their relevance from the insurance point of view and the future of e-mobility. The result is an interesting podcast that can be downloaded from https://www.cleanelectric.de/azt/ and from the current streaming platforms such as Spotify and Deezer under "Cleanelectric".


  • DeTomaso - Test of braking performance, picture: Andreas Kronthaler


    Owning and maintaining classic cars has always been an emotional hobby: the vehicles remind of old times and offer a highly individual driving experience. In addition classic cars are real eye-catchers - 42% of all Germans are happy when they see a vintage car.

    According to the IfD Allensbach Oldtimer Study around 22% of all people in Germany (around 15 million) are interested in classic cars and motorcycles.


    Today there are about 750.000 cars on our roads in Germany which are more than 30 years old and unfortunately are occasionally involved in accidents.

    With that in mind, the AZT, together with other partners carried out an up-to-date analysis of KH and VK collision damage. In cooperation with the Graz University of Technology the structure of classic car accidents as well as the causes and consequences of accidents were analysed in detail. In this context a comparison of the brake delays for selected vintage cars and newer vehicles was carried out as a very useful addition to the activities of the analytically active expert.


    The key finding of the study is that the incidence of accidents in vintage cars differs significantly from that of current vehicle generations. This is due in particular to different driving dynamics characteristics and the maintenance condition of the vehicles. For example, sudden vehicle damage was often observed as the cause of accidents in vintage cars. In addition, the use of classic cars - rarely as everyday vehicles, often as hobby and leisure vehicles - has an impact on accident typology. The brake deceleration measurements also show how clearly the performance of classic car brake systems is inferior to that of today's vehicle models. This also contributes to the typical accident occurrence of classic vehicles and must be taken into account by the vehicle expert in individual cases, e.g. in accident analysis and accident reconstruction.


    The complete results of the study can be found in the following article (in german language only) which was published in the VKU.

  • A day at the paint shop.


    At the AZT, young people regularly take the opportunity to gain an impression of the practical application of automotive technology and to contribute their knowledge in form of internships or working student activities. It is an enrichment for both sides.


    Following Vincent states about his time within the Allianz:

    I decided to do this internship as I have always been interested in cars and the crash track of the AZT.


    Monday, 15th of July 2019

    At first I was warmly welcomed by my supervisor Mr. Kitzmann. I introduced myself to the colleagues throughout the day. The tasks of the AZT were illustrated with the help of lectures and presentations. In exchange with employees the function of the crash track was explained and I was able to learn detailed information about the course of an accident reconstruction. At the end of the day I was taking part at a guided tour of the building where I have received further information about the AZT.


    Tuesday, 16th of July 2019

    I spent the day in the paint shop and had the opportunity to watch the professionals how to repair car parts. For the preparation of a paint job the following was done: Every single step is documented, even the removal and putting on of the protective clothing. I was able to take a lot of information from the repair shop. In between I helped my colleagues to scan documents.


    Wednesday, 17th of July 2019

    On Wednesday I have looked over the expert's shoulder when investigating hail damage. The damage is calculated with the assistance of a computer program. First the affected car drives into the hail scanner. The number of scanned dents is then displayed on the PC and the damage can be calculated. The analysis of the hail scanner is verified by hand with a dent mirror.


    Dent mirror for the detection of hail damage.


    Thursday, 18th of July 2019

    Today the work from Tuesday was finished. In the paint shop the colleagues first mixed the colour - already determined for the bumper- out of ten different colours. In the next step they painted and assembled the bumper. The colour of the painted bumper corresponded perfectly with the one the car. At the end of the day an employee explained the high-speed cameras of the crash track.


    Friday, 19th of July 2019  

    The last day of my internship I spent on the huge Allianz Campus in Unterföhring. There I have learned a lot about the office work of the colleagues who send the experts home to the customers. A special computer program is used in order to inspect the damage there. Alternatively the damage is examined via livestream.


    Conclusion: In the end, I have to say, I have learned a lot about painting, repairing and assembling car parts. I have also learned a lot about the crash track. I was particularly surprised by the latest technology which the AZT´s team work with efficiently. The content of my internship was great and I have enjoyed the week within the Allianz. 

  • Hail scanner: The vehicles of the affected Allianz customers are inspected with the latest technology.


    12th of July, 1984 shortly before 8 p.m.: A bright yellow sky announced the hailstorm disaster in Munich. A ghostly backdrop. Minutes later an inferno broke out: huge ice grains up to the size of a tennis ball pelted on people, animals, houses, cars, fields and gardens. 

    The result: Three dead, more than 300 injured, over 200,000 damaged cars and further property damage amounting to more than three billion marks within 20 minutes - the largest loss event in the history of the German insurance industry to date. At that time, the dent repair technique was not yet known, so every dent was knocked out, smoothed and painted. The vehicle repair costs for most motor vehicles were higher than the current market value, so that a total loss was incurred. In 1984 there were no laptops yet, so that an expert opinion for the experts in the AZT was much more time-consuming and costly than today. All dents, on average between 50 and 250 per vehicle, were counted and recorded manually.


    A newspaper advertisement of Allianz in 1984. It says: "Allianz to all customers: We pay."


    On Whit Monday 2019, 10th of June, a similar storm has happened again in the Munich region. Hail grains with a diameter of up to six centimetres crashed through car and window panes during the night on Tuesday and caused numerous other damage to buildings.

    Many cars resemble a lunar landscape. They are covered with dents caused by hailstones. Allianz is currently expecting up to 20,000 damage cases. The total expenses for cars and the other property insurance is estimated at around 190 million Euro. For the insurers, this means peak period.


    The damaged vehicles are inspected in the AZT workshop.


    Allianz has set up eight hail inspection centers - one of them at the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) - to process the large number of claims quickly, efficiently and in a customer-oriented manner. Since June 17th, 2019 several automotive experts have been responsible for inspecting hail damage to the cars of Allianz customers here. The special feature: A modern hail scanner, which enables the fast, automated recording of hail damage to vehicles following mass damage events caused by storms, supports Allianz colleagues in their work.  In addition, the AZT workshop offers the perfect infrastructure to ensure the best possible organizational process. As early as 2018, the AZT was working on a scientific project on hail damage. The laboratory test deals with an analysis of different carbon fibre reinforced plastics (e.g. carbon) regarding hail resistance.


    Further information on the practical test can be found in our topic "Hagelschaden" ("hail damage" - in German language only).


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  • In cooperation with international institutes (RCAR), the AZT has further developed the virtual key requirements, published in Germany last year, into a globally applicable standard. "This is the first global standard for IT security in the theft protection of motor vehicles which can be used uniformly in all markets as a basis for developers and as a basis for the regulation of total theft by insurers," says Jochen Haug, member of the Allianz Board of Management responsible for claims.


    The requirements for virtual vehicle keys, according to the international RCAR standard, can be downloaded here.


    Further details on the virtual vehicle key can be found in our current Allianz press release (in German language only).




  • "Despite good successes in recent years, there is still considerable potential for improvement in the area of pedestrian safety. 4,000 injured and in some years up to 70 killed pedestrians in Austria cannot and must not simply be tolerated".

    This statement by Xaver Wölfl, board member of Allianz Austria, illustrates the international relevance of pedestrian safety.

    On Wednesday, 22 May, the Allianz Pedestrian Study was presented to the Austrian press in Vienna. Xaver Wölfl and Dr. Jörg Kubitzki, traffic psychologist from AZT and author of the study, presented selected results and answered journalists' questions.

    The report of Allianz Austria and the corresponding press release in German language can be downloaded here.


  • Joachim Müller, Management Board Allianz Deutschland, on the right: Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser, Managing Director of the Allianz Zentrum für Technik


    Less sound. eMobility. E-scooters.

    On Saturday, 25th May, the Formula-E racing cars did their laps in Berlin. The Formula-E is a family-friendly event with a large supporting program around the race. Visitors are able to experience the future of mobility and learn about the climate-friendly and sustainable economy. Many large companies are represented off the track on the Tempelhof field. Allianz also presented itself as a partner of motor sports with a stand in the sponsor area. Joachim Müller (Management Board Allianz Deutschland)  and Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser (Managing Director of the Allianz Zentrum für Technik) have already been on site the day before. In discussion with Allianz Corporate Communication, Joachim Müller explained why Allianz is involved in Formula-E: “Sustainability is an extremely important issue for us. We have been climate-neutral since 2013 and are working to ensure that in future. Allianz will also generate all the electricity for all global companies from green electricity. Formula-E supports this goal enormously. The pioneering technology in formula racing will ultimately be seen on the roads later. And that's why we're here."


    This year the E-scooter is the focus of attention in Berlin. E-scooters are allowed to participate officially on the road from 15th of June, in case they are insured. Allianz wants to promote new mobility concepts with low rates. Joachim Müller announced "we will be the market leader for e-scooters". The whole interview with the Tagesspiegel in german language is available here.


  • Isabella Ostermaier (right in the picture) receives the ADAC Young Talent Award from Dr. Andrea David


    Isabella Ostermaier, former master student in accident research at Allianz Zentrum für Technik, was awarded the UFO Young Investigators Price 2019 of the ADAC Foundation for her master thesis on "effectiveness analysis of automated driving functions".

    The price was awarded at the symposium for accident research and road safety on April 2nd  and 3rd , 2019. Her thesis deals with the effects of autonomous driving (SAE Level 3 und 4) on road safety. The accident prevention potential of automated driving functions in the next 20 years is unfortunately not as high as presumed. 

     

    By supporting young scientists in the field of accident research and road safety, the ADAC Foundation would like to give young researchers the opportunity to present their work to experts. This year's pricewinner was selected by the UFO Expert Advisory Board, a committee of external experts. The award was presented by Dr. Andrea David, Chairman of the ADAC Foundation.

     

    The former TU student, Isabella Ostermaier, has been project manager in accident research at the ADAC Technik Zentrum in Landsberg since October 2018.

      

    The AZT team congratulates Isabella Ostermaier!