Human factors

As more ADAS functions are added to vehicles, the need to test them grows, but much of this will be done in the virtual sphere using driver-in-the-loop simulations

The increase in ADAS systems is puttingpressure on testing engineers to make sure that the technologies are robust. As in many areas of vehicle and technology development, physical testing is becoming more time-consuming, which is at odds with the need to reduce the length of programmes. That is why even ADAS systems are benefiting from the use of simulation tools.

Chris Hoyle, rFpro’s technical director, says: “We have reintroduced the human test driver earlier in the process. Traditionally firms wait for a prototype, a mule or even production intent vehicles to go out and test, but we allow them to start that process while they are still at the virtual stage.”  

The simulation company has been using driver-in-the-loop systems to develop all aspects of the vehicle and the impact on dynamics. That includes everything from passive chassis systems to drivetrain controls, hybrid systems and many others.

But it is ADAS functions that are a growing part of the business. “When you construct ADAS tests with inflatable targets, you're able to run one test every five or 10 minutes, if you are lucky, but in the worst case you might be looking at one test a day,” says Hoyle. “In the laboratory, if a test takes 20 seconds, you can stop, restart, and a minute later you're doing it again.”

Models and algorithms

That’s a huge advantage for development engineers, and the tools are very well known. For rFpro the digital models of roads from all markets, and including as much detail as possible, mean that OEMs and  Tier Ones can use the systems to develop ADAS systems for any market. But testing them requires slightly different inputs from
the norm.

Hoyle says: “When you test ADAS virtually, you need a virtual copy of the entire tool chain and that starts with sensor models of lidar, radar, and cameras to actually capture the external world.  On top of that, the algorithms that process those data strings and then, on top of that, you've got the control systems that take the calculated information, and fuse it to build up an overall picture of the surroundings and then decide if some course of action is needed.” 

tags: March 2016 Connectivity