UK-based automotive testing systems supplier, AB Dynamics has revealed that it is contributing key technologies to the German PEGASUS project, a EUR34m (US$38.4m) national initiative to establish industry-wide quality standards and test procedures for automated vehicle (AV) functions.
In order to accelerate the safe introduction of AVs and systems, the four-year PEGASUS project, part-funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), brings together 17 partners from the German automotive industry, including OEMs, suppliers and research institutions, such as Audi, BMW, Bosch, Continental, Daimler, Opel, and Volkswagen. Their objectives are to define standardized test procedures, develop a flexible and continuous tool chain, and create a common method of safeguarding highly automated driving functions.
AB Dynamics will support the PEGASUS project’s drive for consistency in two important ways: Firstly, the company’s common software protocols and open interface for desktop, laboratory and track testing will reduce engineering workload while also simplifying data management, and also allowing the direct comparison of results from different test regimes.
Secondly, its range of complementary track test technologies will enable AVs to be tested cost-effectively in proximity to a variety of other road users and vehicle types.
AB Dynamics was identified as one of the few companies with the technology to control multiple vehicles accurately and repeatably enough to ensure consistent and actionable test results.
Within the PEGASUS project, global technical services supplier TÜV SÜD is responsible for physical testing on proving grounds, and in this capacity the company uses AB Dynamics’ Flex-0 for by-wire control, path following for active guidance and Synchro for synchronization of targets and test vehicles. In addition, AB’s range of hardware, including driving robots, Guided Soft Targets and the LaunchPad platform for vulnerable road user targets can be used to bring test scenarios to life. These are proven solutions that can be used to meet PEGASUS’ requirements for the implementation and execution of complex test scenarios. They also enable the seamless integration of the individual elements that are required within the PEGASUS tool chain. In this case, TÜV SÜD is applying a Kia Niro fitted with a PolySync Drive Kit for ‘by-wire’ control, but the concept can also be used with a range of other cars.
“Testing autonomous functionality necessitates highly complex traffic scenarios involving multiple vehicles that are positioned accurately and whose movements must be perfectly synchronized; otherwise the significance of data from repeated tests is severely diminished,” explained Andrew Pick, business director for track test systems at AB Dynamics. “We can supply Guided Soft Targets for use where there is the potential for collision. Other ‘background’ traffic, at minimal risk of collision, can be populated by regular cars using Flex-0 control as a cost and time-effective solution. Even vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, can be included by mounting dummies on our LaunchPad or SPT motorized platforms. The movement of every entity is coordinated through our Synchro system using TrackFi wireless telemetry.”