ANSYS acquires OPTIS to create industry-leading AV simulation portfolio


One of the global leaders in engineering simulation software, USA-based ANSYS has completed the acquisition of French optical simulation and virtual prototyping company OPTIS to create the automotive industry’s most comprehensive portfolio for simulating autonomous vehicles.

By adding OPTIS’s optical sensor and closed-loop, real-time simulation to its existing multiphysics portfolio, ANSYS can now offer the broadest toolset for validating the safety and reliability of autonomous vehicles (AVs), speeding up the time to market for self-driving technologies by mitigating the need for billions of miles of road testing. As a leading provider of software for scientific simulation of light, human vision and physics-based visualization, OPTIS delivers physics-based optical simulation solutions. With OPTIS, ANSYS capabilities now span: the simulation of all sensors, including lidar, cameras and radar; the multiphysics simulation of physical and electronic components; the analysis of systems functional safety; and the automated development of safety-certified embedded software. This functionality can be integrated into a closed-loop simulation environment that interacts with weather and traffic simulators, enabling thousands of driving scenarios to be executed virtually.

The potential financial impact of AVs is enormous, with analysts predicting this emerging technology will boost the global economy by US$7tr. But the impact on human life is even more significant, with AVs having the potential to drastically reduce traffic accidents, saving more than 600,000 lives annually. Before they drive the highways in large numbers though, AVs must first be proven safe through rigorous testing in complex driving environments, including all types of road conditions and weather scenarios. This would require billions of miles of physical road tests. The acquisition of OPTIS enables ANSYS to provide a faster, safer and more economical solution than physical testing of automated vehicles.

OPTIS has developed a photo-realistic virtual reality (VR) and closed-loop simulation platform, which will help speed the development of AVs. Using this VR backbone, combined with other ANSYS solutions, automotive manufacturers can simulate the environment driverless vehicles are navigating, including road conditions, weather and one-way streets. ANSYS’s pervasive simulation solutions will be used to drive virtual AVs in realistic simulated environments. Using accurate models to replicate real-life vehicle encounters, they can be driven for millions of miles in a virtual environment in a single day.

“As the industry races to develop safe autonomous vehicles, a comprehensive sensor solution is critical to autonomous vehicle development,” said Jacques Delacour, OPTIS president and CEO. “Joining ANSYS enables us to provide the best radar, lidar and camera simulation in the market within one toolset. Together we will significantly speed the development of autonomous vehicles.”

Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager at ANSYS, commented, “By providing the most accurate and comprehensive multidisciplinary and cross-functional simulation technology on the market, we, along with OPTIS technology, will help bring safe, reliable autonomous vehicles to market sooner, reducing automotive accidents and deaths.”

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Tom has edited Traffic Technology International (TTi) magazine and its Traffic Technology Today website since May 2014. During his time at the title, he has interviewed some of the top transportation chiefs at public agencies around the world as well as CEOs of leading multinationals and ground-breaking start-ups. Tom's earlier career saw him working on some the UK's leading consumer magazine titles. He has a law degree from the London School of Economics (LSE).