As the automotive industry continues to shift towards more advanced driver assistance and automated driving, our Business Director of Track Test Systems, Dr. Andrew Pick explores the future challenges, advancements, and direction of testing methodologies.

How has the landscape of automotive testing changed over the past decade?

Over the last decade, we've witnessed a significant transformation in automotive testing. Driver assistance systems have now filtered down from premium vehicles to becoming a standard feature in every new vehicle thanks to changes in legislation to improve safety. This shift has significantly increased the requirement for ADAS testing and places a higher burden on OEMs, test houses and test equipment. As a result, we have focussed our product development programmes to meet this changing demand and help improve testing efficiency.

What challenges do test engineers face with the rise of driver assistance systems?

While regulatory and consumer testing typically involves only the vehicle under test and a single ADAS target, real-world scenarios are often much more complex. For example, traffic can cause distractions and obscure the driver’s, and sensor’s, view of an impending collision. Even if legislation doesn’t necessitate more complex scenarios in the future, the demand from consumers for a better driving experience will. As such, the testing of driver assistance systems will require an increasingly accurate representation of real-world scenarios. We are actively addressing this by incorporating greater realism into our ADAS targets, introducing additional targets, and enabling more complex scenarios to take place.

How does AB Dynamics envision the future of testing for driver assistance systems?

We are already seeing a shift towards more realistic and complex testing scenarios. For example, Euro NCAP's cut-out scenario, focusing on adaptive cruise control in following traffic, highlights the need to consider the effects of multiple vehicles. On top of this, increasing levels of automated driving also necessitate more complex testing.

How will automated driving impact testing?

ADAS technologies are not infallible, but they don't need to be. As the name suggests, they are there to assist the driver and their purpose is to reduce the probability of collisions resulting from driver errors. However, as we move towards automated driving functions, which assume responsibility for driving tasks, the robustness of these systems becomes absolutely crucial, and testing is a critical part of validating this. Simulation will play an increasing role in subjecting these systems to the almost limitless possibilities that can occur on our roads but ultimately these simulated tests will need to be correlated in the real world. Testing will need to encompass every conceivable scenario, driving an increase in the volume of testing as automation becomes more prevalent.

How will testing requirements for automated driving differ from current practices?

Automated driving functions demand new testing methods and tracks. For example, we anticipate that the current single-run approach to testing will need to be replaced by a more efficient fluid solution. Imagine a swarm of vehicles continuously repositioning to perform a multitude of uninterrupted scenarios over hundreds of kilometres on a looped track. We are developing new communication technologies as well as scenario planning and execution tools to enable this type of testing. It will require proving grounds to develop new facilities to allow continuous running on multi-lane highways to meet this type of testing.

How is AB Dynamics preparing for the future of automated driving testing?

We are ready to embrace the future challenges in automated driving testing. As the industry works towards providing safe and affordable automated driving, we are committed to delivering cutting-edge test solutions. Our focus is on adapting to new testing methodologies, developing innovative products, and contributing to the evolution of the automotive testing landscape.

Key takeaways:

  • Over the last decade, the need for increased ADAS testing has placed a higher burden on OEMs, test houses, and test equipment.
  • Real-world scenarios are often more complex than regulatory and consumer testing, which typically involves only the vehicle under test and a single ADAS target.
  • AB Dynamics envisions a shift towards more realistic and complex testing scenarios. Increasing levels of automated driving will necessitate more complex testing.
  • Automated driving functions demand new testing methods and tracks. AB Dynamics anticipates that the current single-run approach to testing will need to be replaced by a more efficient fluid solution.

For more information on how AB Dynamics can support your ADAS testing programme visit click here or contact us at

With the interest in connectivity and particularly Vehicle-to-Everything (V2X) technology increasing in the automotive industry, Andrew Pick, Business Director of Track Test Systems at AB Dynamics, explains what the technology is, how it would work in practice and how it could significantly improve road safety.  

What is V2X technology and how is it benefiting the automotive industry? 

In essence, V2X technology enables everything on our roads to communicate together. The aim is to create a collaborative and cooperative capability that enables safety messages to be shared amongst users. It is split up into three different levels; to give information, to increase awareness and to provide warnings. 

The key benefit is to improve road safety. By providing vehicles and drivers with more information about their surroundings, they should be more aware of potential hazards ahead and be able to act accordingly.  

This technology is seen as an enabler for autonomous vehicles in the future. A lot of what we do as humans when driving is collaborate with other drivers, such as a subtle wave of the hand to allow another car through. Autonomous vehicles need to be able to do this too and V2X is the language they will speak. Except there will be much more information exchanged than could ever be possible with hand signals. For example, you may communicate a hazard ahead to an oncoming driver by flashing your lights. With V2X, the type of hazard and its exact location will be communicated to all nearby vehicles. 

How will V2X work in practice? 

V2X technology is split up into different elements. For example, Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) and Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V), but also connectivity to other road users. 

We are seeing V2V being adopted first as the technology can be integrated relatively easily and rolled out in new vehicle models. For vulnerable road users (VRU) implementation might be based on mobile phone technology and could also be easily integrated into micro-mobility solutions, such as bicycles and electric scooters. Infrastructure, such as traffic lights and variable speed limits, is likely to take more time as these lifecycles are longer and so will need to be upgraded or replaced specifically. In time though, as the network increases, the bigger and more powerful it becomes. 

These elements will be continually broadcasting a cooperative awareness message (CAM) or a decentralised environmental notification message (DENM). The CAM provides information such as speed, position and heading of other vehicles. The DENM communicates information on accidents or other hazards on the road. 

What are the current limitations of the technology? 

As with any new technology, consumer acceptance is key to success. A vehicle equipped with V2X will be receiving a huge amount of data. A driver doesn’t want to be made aware of every single vehicle nearby, only the safety critical information. Deciding what information to share with the driver and how will be critical. 

The biggest question for the industry is what “language” should be used. For it to work effectively it must be universal across the elements. Currently, there are two competing standards. ITS-G5 is an ad hoc Wi-Fi, which has already been adopted by Volkswagen and can be found on the latest Golf and all its ID models. The alternative is cellular V2X, or C-V2X, which essentially piggybacks off the existing mobile phone networks, such as 4G and 5G. This choice is a critical crossroad for the industry as manufacturers won’t want to back the wrong horse. 

The greatest limitation of the technology though is adoption. For it to have a powerful effect it needs to be on as many vehicles as possible, as well as being built into the surrounding infrastructure. Although legislation is effective by mandating the technology the time scales are long. Consumer tests provide a powerful alternative and Euro NCAP has identified V2X technology as a key safety enabler in its recent roadmap for 2030. This provides great motivation for vehicle manufacturers to adopt the technology more widely. 

How quickly are we likely to see V2X technology integrated into Euro NCAP testing? 

We don’t know the answer yet. But it is anticipated that Euro NCAP will include a level of V2X in the next protocol update, which is due in 2026. Euro NCAP has stated that it intends to accommodate all forms of connectivity by evaluating safety functions in a technology-neutral way. This essentially means these communications systems will form part of the Euro NCAP test scenarios, regardless of which “language” is used. 

They have highlighted a staged rollout of the technology testing. The first is improving driver awareness using V2X by giving warnings to drivers of potential hazards. This is relatively quite easy to test as it is essentially an advanced level of the safety assist features that Euro NCAP currently use, such as speed assist. 

The second phase is the use of V2X to proactively avoid collisions, perhaps where there are obstructions out of sight of conventional ADAS sensors. V2X could be used to track that object throughout the test scenario. Again, this wouldn’t be a big challenge as it would complement scenarios that Euro NCAP is already testing.  

For example, imagine a scenario where a vehicle operating under assisted driving on a highway is suddenly presented with a stationary vehicle in the lane ahead that was obscured by a lead vehicle, which suddenly cuts out into the adjacent lane. Currently, the assisted vehicle would rely on an AEB (Automatic Emergency Braking) system to prevent a collision. By the very nature of how the system works this would involve a last-minute emergency manoeuvre, which is uncomfortable and unsettling for the vehicle’s passengers and other traffic. With V2X, the assisted vehicle would be forewarned of the hazard and would slow down in a controlled and timely manner.  

By providing the vehicle with information earlier it moves the necessary action further down the road to give the vehicle much more time to react. This technology has the potential to improve road safety by significantly reducing the number of collisions. 

How will AB Dynamics be helping the industry test the technology and these new test scenarios? 

If you want to thoroughly test the technology, it needs to be done in a controlled and repeatable way on a proving ground. As a result, we are adding connectivity to our range of ADAS test platforms. This allows us to augment connectivity during tests so that connected targets and test objects broadcast the same digital signature as a real vehicle would on the public road. 

To effectively test connectivity, it needs to be built into the test scenarios. In the same way that we currently define the path and speed of the vehicle, we will also need to define the messages the vehicle broadcasts. To enable this, we have integrated connected hardware to our products which communicate the CAM and DENM information of our targets and the navigation system directly. This is linked to the test scenario, via our software, so we can define the message and the trigger point on demand. We can also log the V2X messages that are being broadcast by other vehicles and the test objects. 

We have also developed the connectivity solution to be retrofittable to existing products and to support both the ITS-G5 and C-V2X communication technologies. In fact, the ITS-G5 technology is very similar to what we use on the proving ground already to communicate between the test vehicles and ADAS targets. So, we already have a lot of experience with this technology. 

This is a new capability for us. We have already started demonstrating it as part of one of the work packages in the SECUR (Safety Enhancement through Connected Users on the Road) project

Can you tell me more about the SECUR project? What is the objective? 

The SECUR project, coordinated by UTAC, aims to create a coherent proposal for V2X testing and assessment protocols for Euro NCAP. It brings together a consortium of 20 international stakeholders from the entire automotive and V2X ecosystem, who will share knowledge and collaborate through workshops and working groups. Together with AB Dynamics, the partners include Volkswagen, Honda, Toyota, Denso, Bosch and Continental. Our key input into the project is to help define a specification for connected targets to support this testing in the future. 

To learn more about the SECUR project, visit

Over the past decade the increased usability and capability of multi-physics simulation tools available to engineers has created a valuable opportunity for more accurate, better informed, and faster product development. This trend is well encapsulated in the recent industry buzzword the ‘digital twin’ which describes virtual replicas of complete physical systems that engineers can use to run simulations before new hardware or hardware updates are built and deployed.

However, experience of a product life cycle will quickly expose the practicality that complete reliance on simulation in development will almost inevitably fail. The unexpected vagaries of the real world driven by incomplete information and the difficulty of capturing all significant influences in a mathematical description of a system require repeated correlation of models to the real world through physical testing

The digital twin must not remain the poster child of the trade show banner or a friendly companion in the clean and dry development office but must be put through its paces on the rain swept test track and given a workout in the oily, noisy test lab. The more novel the simulation, the more it requires a shakedown against reality to check the equations and input parameters. Is a material supplier’s data written by an optimistic marketeer or a cautious stress engineer? Is the thermal performance of an assembly dominated by the materials or the joints between the materials? How much confidence can you have in those long 3D eddy current simulations?

The higher value second pay back of a well correlated model, that accurately describes what is actually happening in a first prototype or existing product, is delivered when tested data and equations are used in the development of the actual product or a second generation device, and when variants and new ideas can be tested with greater confidence in the virtual environment.

With the SPMM product, AB Dynamics has for 25 years provided the international automotive industry with a class leading tool to accurately collect whole vehicle correlation data for ride, handling, and suspension development. In controlled lab conditions the kinematics and compliance of the complete body and suspension assemblies can be quickly and accurately measured and logged.

Adding to this automotive development tool capability, AB Dynamics has recently launched the ANVH 250 product which achieves a similar characterisation task for the axle sub assembly. A complete axle system can be loaded into the machine and tested for road noise transmission from the wheel to the body mounting points. The additional capability of axle level kinematics and compliance measurement allows the impact on ride and handling performance to be tracked as NVH requirements are achieved through bushing compliance and suspension element natural frequency modifications.

Axle NVH issues often remain undetected until late in a vehicle program, which leads to expensive corrective measures, additional weight or sub-optimal designs being carried into production. Adding the ability to test the sub assembly hardware, feed correlation data back to the sub assembly model and tune the axle system prior to inclusion in the vehicle prototype allows optimised assemblies to be delivered into the development programme designed and tested to a predefined performance specification.

Rapid advances in simulation methods means an increasing amount of vehicle development testing is now being undertaken in the virtual world.

The increase in vehicle system complexity associated with Connected and Autonomous Vehicles means completing the required tests in the ever-shortening time available, is a major challenge for vehicle manufactures. In addition, the number of tests requested by international test standards agencies like Euro NCAP and NHTSA has increased significantly in recent years. The result is increased pressure to find efficiencies through virtual testing.

The ability to build highly accurate vehicle models and to test these in high fidelity virtual environments including proving grounds and road networks means that the test driver can now drive a virtual prototype of the vehicle and feed into the development process long before a physical prototype has been built. This reduces both development time and costs as repeatable test results can be obtained earlier in the development cycle and in greater depth than previously possible using physical prototypes.

The AB Dynamics advanced Vehicle Driving Simulator (aVDS) contains a class-leading third generation motion platform with high response, low latency, low noise and large payload capacity. The class leading dynamic performance of the platform means that virtual testing of vehicle ride and handling is no longer constrained by the physics of the motion platform.

AB Dynamics suite of products includes systems for virtual, lab and track testing. Compatibility and synergy between the products is designed to minimise the workload faced by engineers as they move from one environment to the other. For example K&C data generated by the SPMM can be imported directly into the CarSim and CarMaker models driven on the aVDS. Likewise the ADAS test scenarios driven virtually on the aVDS may be easily validated physically on the track using AB Dynamics suite of ADAS soft crash targets, with consistency ensured by using the same robot controller software and hardware in both the physical and virtual environments.

This site is registered on as a development site. Switch to a production site key to remove this banner.