Automotive testing technology supplier, AB Dynamics, has released a major update of its Robot Controller Software, which is focussed on making ADAS testing more efficient. Combined with a library of preconfigured test scenarios updated for the 2023 version, RC 9.4, this update enables automated testing of every current Euro NCAP ADAS protocol that requires driving robots, helping make testing processes more streamlined.
The RC 9.4 software has been developed in collaboration with AB Dynamics’ customers and provides an end-to-end ADAS testing capability. The system coordinates both robot-controlled vehicles under test and ADAS targets, enabling the test protocol to be fully defined and executed through a single software ecosystem.
“The quantity and complexity of vehicle tests are set to increase as active safety systems continue to become more advanced,” explained Dr Andrew Pick, business director for track test systems at AB Dynamics. “Our new software update provides a single environment that seamlessly manages the planning, execution and review of tests using our robotic track testing products. It enables the majority of the ADAS testing process to be automated and helps operators to increase the efficiency, accuracy and repeatability of their testing.”
The update features a new interface and ADAS testing workflows, designed to simplify and speed up the setup of targets and test scenarios. For example, compared to the previous version of the Robot Controller Software, the number of steps required to initialise an ADAS test platform has been halved.
Users can download preconfigured tests (referred to as Special Groups) from the library or use the scenario generation tool to create new complex, multi-vehicle scenarios. The test scenarios are location agnostic and can be overlayed onto aerial photos of the proving ground to help operators visualise and plan tests.
The software calculates the location, trajectory and speed of the vehicle under test and other test objects, such as ADAS targets. The tests are automatically reconfigured to account for different vehicle widths and lengths to precisely control the collision points as per the test requirements. AB Dynamics says this eliminates the need to create new tests for each vehicle model.
The software also automatically runs cross-checks to ensure the test is defined properly according to the specific test requirements. This includes aspects such as data capture rate and vehicle reference points. This is critical as any incorrect specifications will result in invalid data and wasted track time. The post-test processing tool will validate the test data and provide a preliminary real-time pass or fail result.
“We work closely with Euro NCAP laboratories to develop new test protocols using our equipment and software,” added Dr Pick. “This helps to ensure that our products have the capability for current and future test requirements. As our equipment is listed as approved on Euro NCAP’s latest technical bulletin, customers can be confident that any preliminary tests would be representative of official testing.”
There are currently more than 600 different test cases in the Euro NCAP Special Groups library, which includes 150 new scenarios added for the latest 2023 protocol update – and the underlying scenarios can take weeks of development time to create, modify and validate. The database of pre-configured test scenarios developed by AB Dynamics’ software and application engineers can save months of track and planning time.
On top of the Euro NCAP protocols, the company has also developed predefined regulatory tests, such as vehicle handling FMVSS126, NHTSA fishhook, dynamic brake support testing, and regulation 13H. The Special Groups library also includes several China and Japan NCAP protocols, with more currently under development.
Dr Pick added, “We are expecting the number of elements in a test scenario to increase, particularly as the testing of autonomous technologies becomes more common. This is one of the reasons why our unique ability to provide two-way communication between the vehicle under test and the other elements in the scene is so important.”
The RC 9.4 software is available as standard on all new track testing products. It can also be installed to upgrade appropriate hardware manufactured after 2015, when AB Dynamics switched to its latest controllers.