Autonomous, “self-driving” vehicles are heading this way, being preceded by vehicular electronic guidance and safety systems such as advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) technologies. Of course, with the functionality provided by these safety systems comes the need to develop effective test methods to evaluate them under a wide range of operating conditions.
Gathering large amounts of data is an important part of any measurement process. For example, no test procedure can possibly review the operation of a vehicle’s ADAS equipment under all operating conditions and potential accident situations. But automated test solutions should try to anticipate the majority of single-vehicle, multiple-vehicle, and pedestrian combinations potentially involving ADAS and other types of autonomous-vehicle systems to ensure safe, reliable operation under the widest sets of conditions possible.
An innovator in developing automated test methods for ADAS and autonomous vehicles, the French firm UTAC CERAM, has counted on AB Dynamics and its Torus steering robots to perform automated steering testing on ADAS-equipped vehicles. Some of the steering robots have been designed specifically for ADAS development, since the demand for ADAS testing has been growing steadily in recent years.
In most cases, the ADAS vehicle dynamics measurements are short enough in duration that the robotics testers can collect sufficient results during these automated measurements to fully validate autonomous-vehicle operation. In some cases, when autonomous-vehicle testing may involve more complex street scenes and complex testing, the measurement systems are modified to meet the specific requirements with repeatable test results.
Measurement-equipment suppliers such as AB Dynamics are being challenged to produce automated, robotically controlled vehicular steering test systems during a time when the complexity of both the vehicular driving systems and the measurement systems used to characterize them is increasing. They have succeeded in making their measurement systems accessible, usable, and repeatable, much to the benefit of vehicle designers and manufacturers attempting to integrate ADAS and other automated driving approaches into commercial vehicles. Such tight control of autonomous-vehicle testing results in the collection of meaningful data and higher-quality, safer ADAS-based vehicles for all users.
See “Autonomous Vehicles and the Burden of Testing,” NASA Tech Briefs, Vol. 42, No. 7, July 2018, p. 55.