UK-based automotive test system supplier, AB Dynamics, has developed a compact vulnerable road user (VRU) test platform that it says is capable of safe and controlled vehicle testing at speeds of up to 80km/h (50mph) and braking at forces exceeding 0.6g. The company claims this platform, named LaunchPad 80, is the only one that fully meets the speed requirements of Euro NCAP’s AEB/LSS VRU Test Protocol for motorcycle testing, due to come into effect in 2023.
The system enables the testing of ADAS and autonomous vehicles with motorcyclist and moped targets in a variety of complex scenarios. Such tests are particularly important as motorcyclists and moped riders are among the most vulnerable road users; despite making up less than 1% of traffic, they account for around 20% of road deaths and have the highest casualty and fatality rates per distance travelled of all road users.
Dummy motorcyclist or moped targets can be attached to AB Dynamics’ remotely-operated platform to test ADAS systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist (LKA), and blind-spot detection. The targets emulate the visual and radar profile of real-world objects, ensuring that a test vehicle’s systems can identify the target, just as they would the real thing.
In the event of a vehicle colliding with the target, the test vehicle can drive over the low and curved LaunchPad 80 unit with minimal risk of damage to the platform or the vehicle, while a heavy-duty version can be driven over by buses and trucks up to 44,000kg (the low profile also helps ensure low radar reflectivity, reducing the possibility of interference with the test vehicle’s detection systems). The target can then be reassembled and reused – particularly useful when used for multi-vehicle, multi-target scenarios, as the system can control up to 16 individual test objects.
A synchro system ensures the LaunchPad 80 arrives at the intersection point with the test vehicle at exactly the right time, aided by four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering for stability and manoeuvrability, even during peak acceleration of 3m/s2. The hydraulic braking system enables controlled deceleration at over 6m/s2, replicating the emergency events to which modern ADAS systems must quickly and decisively respond.