Uncrewed Systems Technology 051 l Primoco One 150 l Power management l Ocius Bluebottle USV l Steel E-Motive robotaxi l UAVs insight l Xponential 2023 p Issue 51 Aug/Sept 2023 art 2 l Aant Farm TPR72 l Servos l Tampa Deep Sea Barracuda AUV

59 attributes for steel that make it a compelling choice for various automotive applications. That involves regular collaboration with impartial research institutes and universities to publish detailed, open-source guidelines on how to form what we call advanced highstrength steels [AHSSs], how to join them, and how to adjust maintenance practices and tooling for them, while incurring minimal extra costs wherever possible. “Every 5-8 years, we ask members to contribute additional funds for a research project that takes maybe 3 years, with blank-sheet designs for an automotive application use case for AHSSs. It results in a comprehensive, standards-compliant vehicle concept, the complete details of which are published so that anyone can copy and manufacture it.” WorldAutoSteel has completed five such projects so far, lessons from which have informed various standard automotive manufacturing practices. Its sixth and most recent is the Steel E-Motive (SEM). It is the consortium’s first design for an autonomous robotaxi, and has been created with Ricardo as primary consultant. True to its word, this August WorldAutoSteel will publish all the CAD files, data and engineering reports relating to the SEM so that any OEM interested in recreating or even bulkmanufacturing the vehicle can do so without paying a licence fee. The Steel E-Motive concept As Coates observes, “In the past few years, car ownership has fallen considerably among younger people throughout much of the world, and continues to do so. That means MaaS will be needed in centres of large populations, and full autonomy without manual fallback controls will create opportunities for making packaging and occupant space more efficient. But that in turn creates major challenges for crash safety. “We investigated other MaaS vehicles and robotaxis, and found that a lot of them weren’t clear as to whether they incorporate a passive safety structure. “Some spoke about their use of active safety systems through Lidars, vision and radar, and how the autonomy systems could always manoeuvre to avoid an accident using those sensors, but if you talk to any regulatory agencies, none of them have any interest in relaxing crash safety standards. “Robotaxis are going to operate in mixed-mode traffic, surrounded by people driving cars and trucks, so there are always going to be crashes. So we set out to create something that could be used in commercial deployments by 2030-35, meet global road safety regulations and make architectural allowances for the kinds of sensor integrations that are likely to be standard by then.” From the outset therefore, WorldAutoSteel and Ricardo chose to design the Steel E-Motive to be used as an SAE Level 5 autonomous vehicle, without an onboard driver or attendant, and combining the highest levels of autonomy with the highest levels of physical safety. To that end, the two vehicle designs that have emerged from the project – SEM1 and SEM2 – have a passive crash safety structure designed to protect its occupants should the active safety systems prove lacking. The SEM1 is the more developed of the two in terms of the core engineering and NVH and crash modelling, while the SEM2 is effectively an expansion of the SEM1 aimed at using as many common parts as possible, to show that a larger vehicle can be made and operated with minimal extra costs; development of the SEM2 will continue through to 2024. Neil McGregor, project lead at Ricardo, says, “The SEM1 is just over 4 m long and is sized at somewhere between a Volkswagen Polo or Golf for inner-city journeys, and with four seats set in two rows. It features a body in white [a term for a car body’s frame once it’s joined together but before chassis sub-assemblies, powertrain or trim components are integrated] with a weight of 282 kg.” The SEM2 has more space and comfort for longer journeys, such as from home to airport, so it has six seats, with three rows of two. Both vehicles have their forwardmost row of seats rearfacing, as studies indicate this makes ride-sharing feel more comfortable and communal in the vehicles. “Both the SEM1 and SEM2 are batteryelectric,” McGregor says. “The SEM 1 has a 75 kWh pack with a front electric drive unit, while the SEM2 is 92 kWh for longer range and has front and rear electric drive units for a bit more control given its higher mass and therefore inertia.” Using the SEMs WorldAutoSteel’s initial research included discussions with organisations including automotive OEMs and start-ups to gather feedback and hence gain an insight into how best to develop the SEMs, to deliver autonomous vehicles they would want to adapt for their own production. “The MaaS providers could be present-day OEMs, as many of them Steel E-Motive robotaxi | Digest Uncrewed Systems Technology | August/September 2023 With future trends pointing to falling car ownership, WorldAutoSteel and Ricardo produced the Steel E-Motive concept for autonomous commuting (Images courtesy of World Steel Association)