❱ ❱ From a flat pack, the GST can be assembled into a collapsible aluminium frame with foam and fabric coverings

Soft target ADAS

Test houses and proving grounds for autonomous vehicles and advanced safety systems now have access to a Guided Soft Target vehicle. Jonathan Newell finds out more about it.

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t’s hard to imagine a test plan for collision avoidance technology that doesn’t run the risk of a collision occurring. With a combination of expensive test and target vehicles, the costs for the development and testing of autonomous vehicles and Advanced Driver

Assist Systems (ADAS) would rise to unacceptable levels. For final safety ratings of consumer-ready vehicles, the world NCAP (New Car Assessment Programme) organisations like EuroNCAP and the USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) use a harmonised standard global vehicle target with a soft foam panelled body. This “Soft Car 360” is licensed for production in Europe by automotive test system supplier, AB Dynamics.

NEXT GENERATION TARGET VEHICLE Now, AB Dynamics has launched its next-generation Guided Soft Target (GST) vehicle to fulfil the needs of the large development test houses. The GST has a new lower platform with a drive over height of just 100mm and can be used for both ADAS and Autonomous vehicle testing. Having such a low profile reduces the risk of damage to the test vehicle. Equipped with precise positioning, speed control and test

Testing & Test Houses 2018

tough blows for


vehicle synchronisation technology, the GST enables the test houses to generate repeatable, dependable results. The construction of the GST consists of an aluminium Ultra

Low-Profile Chassis (ULPC) with retractable wheels that recede in the event of being driven over, minimising shock input to the test vehicle’s suspension. The aluminium frame is fitted with a foam panelled body, as used on the NCAP designated Soft Car 360, that can be reassembled in just 10 minutes following an impact. With some slight variation depending on the overall specifications, the entire vehicle can weigh as little as 315kg and can achieve 0.2g longitudinal acceleration with a foam body fitted and 0.8g maximum deceleration. According to AB Dynamics’ business director for track

test systems, Andrew Pick, the use of ADAS technology is becoming more widespread within the automotive industry and is seeing increasing levels of complexity as more and more autonomous functions are being developed. The move to full autonomy is characterised by the merging of increasing levels of sensor-based driver assist and collision avoidance systems. “The ability to precisely test these capabilities in a

repeatable environment is of vital importance so just as the technologies move forward, so too must the enabling test systems that are used for development. The new GST combines all the benefits of the previous generation platform with reduced risk of damage to the test vehicle,” explains Pick.

SYNCHRONISED CONTROL To be of full benefit to automotive test organisations, The Guided Soft Target can’t be just a passive object, but needs to have the ability to move, follow guidance paths and synchronise itself with other targets and with the test vehicle. To this end, the latest generation GST is the result of collaborative development efforts between AB Dynamics and Dynamic Research Inc (DRI) and features AB Dynamics’ Path Following and Synchro control technology. According to Pick, such collaborative work is an essential

part of the company’s direction. “AB Dynamics is constantly looking for ways to develop its technologies to ensure that we remain at the forefront of vehicle testing and the preferred supplier to major vehicle manufacturers globally. The new

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