Jonathan Newell gained first hand experience of ADAS testing at Silverstone for avoiding collisions with vulnerable road users

changes in automotive technology as the push for autonomy continues unabated. Sensor-based active safety systems are


now widely available and becoming continually more sophisticated, calling for testing regimes that provide a comprehensive overview of the system performance in a range of scenarios. At this year’s Engineering Integrity

Society (EIS) event, which took place at the Silverstone racing circuit in Northamptonshire during April, automotive testing specialist AB Dynamics was demonstrating its advanced driver assist system (ADAS) testing technology along with sensor and control specialist, Datron Technology.

AUTOMATIC EMERGENCY BRAKING Automatic emergency braking (AEB) has been around for some years and is now included as part of the NCAP crashworthiness testing programme, with the availability of AEB as standard being one of the deciding factors on whether a test vehicle receives five stars or not. AEB operates at low speed and is

designed to take over the task of braking if the driver leaves it too late to avoid a rear-end collision with another vehicle. The system is very good at preventing the kind of rear shunt collisions that can happen in cities or slow, queuing traffic. Usually, the system is less good at preventing collisions with vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and pedestrians. Now, a new generation of collision

avoidance technology is more dynamic and can respond to the risk of a cyclist swerving in front of a car or a pedestrian stepping off a pavement.

SOFT TARGETS For testing such systems, Wiltshire-based AB Dynamics has a range of “soft targets” that emulate the victims of collisions and help to verify sensor and control responses. The targets range in size and form and include full-sized collapsible vehicles,

30 /// Testing & Test Houses /// June 2019

On target for crash avoidance

cyclists and pedestrians. After a collision, the target can be simply re-assembled and used again. For performing tests, there must be

control and repeatability. AB Dynamics achieves this by equipping its range of controllable soft targets with sophisticated motion controllers to provide highly accurate movements which can be synchronised with the test vehicle. Using the same motor and control

technology that the company uses for its vehicle steering systems, the movement of the dummy is precisely synchronised with that of the test vehicle. Two such soft pedestrian targets are

available, one that runs on a sled and the other (SPT20S) is a self-contained version with its own motor and controller.

DRIVE-BY-WIRE The other part of the test is the vehicle. This is either controlled by AB Dynamics’ driving robot that controls steering and pedal movements or by a full drive-by-wire system using the company’s software and the Datronics Flex-0 controller that connects directly to the vehicle’s CAN bus.

To use this, the host vehicle must be capable of being controlled in this way, such as the Kia Niro as used in the EIS demonstration at Silverstone. ADAS testing typically involves creating

complex scenarios with multiple vehicles (or soft targets) to see whether the vehicle’s own systems detect an imminent crash. Using robot-controlled or drive-by-wire vehicles and synchronised targets enables these test scenarios to be programmed and run quickly and accurately, giving high repeatability and consistent data. The route of the vehicle is programmed

into the control system and GPS motion- pack software provides tracking capability to ensure the vehicle follows the programmed path. Synchro software and TrackFi radio

telemetry are used for managing the synchronised motion of the vehicles and the targets. In this way, there’s a pre-determined

path for the vehicle to follow and a synchronised route for the target so that the precise point at which the active safety technology deploys can be predicted and measured. It is controlled and repeatable.

lthough the promise of fully autonomous motoring appears to be just a glimpse into the future for the average motorists, there are nonetheless significant

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