28th May 2020

Keeping up with vehicle testing, is it all too much?


In recent years ADAS and AD testing has grown faster than any could have predicted. Many companies who previously didn’t see safety or autonomy in their business model or vehicle brand are now looking at incorporating some level of ADAS into their products and portfolio.

This is either due to regulation changes or through partnerships with larger OEMs. This is all on top of the existing track testing required to pass type approval and enhance the ride characteristics of the car brand. So how do you hit the ground running?

Increasing challenges for manufacturers

Since 2014 the consumer group Euro NCAP have added more and more challenging scenarios to their ADAS assessment, increasing the possible test runs by 600%. 

In 2020, 263 test runs are completed over 39 test scenarios compared to only 6 scenarios for the 44 possible test runs in 2014.

High demand for consumer testing

Consider that, in 2019 Euro NCAP assessed 65 vehicles; 61 of those has some level of ADAS to be assessed, with each assessment taking between 200-300 test runs depending on how the vehicle performs. For each of these vehicles assessed, the OEM must provide a prediction for AEB CCR (Car-to-Car rear) assessment. This is on an individual test speed level, meaning that 190 predicted ‘grid’ points must be given to Euro NCAP by the OEM for CCRs (Car-to-Car rear static) and CCRm (Car-to-Car rear moving) only. 

This means that depending on the level of confidence they require, the OEM could be completing between 570 (3 repeats) and 950 (5 repeats) test runs as pre-tests to give prediction data to Euro NCAP; potentially taking a huge amount of manpower to complete; manpower that could be better allocated into, for example, future development testing. 

UNECE and regulatory testing 

Additionally, regulatory changes have spurred on a rise in ADAS development with the UNECE adopting a regulation (R152) to have Car-to-Car AEB fitted to all new type approved vehicles by 2022 and all new registered vehicles by 2024. This will be updated with more complex vulnerable road user detection over the subsequent 6 years.

New type approved vehiclesNew registered vehicles
Car-to-Car detection20222024
Car-to-Pedestrian detection20242026
Car-to-Bicycle detection20262028

This, coupled to the already existing regulations for heavy duty vehicles for Lane Departure Warning Systems and Advanced Emergency Braking Systems, (regulation R130 and R131 respectively), and the new regulation for Blind Spot Information System (R151) for the detection of bicycles; shows that the safety benefits afforded by vehicle ADAS has weaved its way into vehicle homologation testing (both passenger and heavy duty). It is therefore up to the approval test services to keep up with the move in technology and associated test equipment. 

Who can help?

We have seen the struggle to complete all the testing required by regulatory and consumer groups to attain a rating, pass regulations or develop a robust system; and the manpower and time to execute them. For vehicle manufacturers, this is all on top of the ever-present track testing in vehicle dynamics, benchmarking and brake development. All of which are in place to enhance the characteristics of the vehicle brand. 

It is for this reason we have created our Testing Services division. Our intention is to work alongside our existing customers, enabling them to complete more testing in this arduous market. We support our customers in ADAS and AD testing by applying our skills to the full scenario on our customers behalf, or controlling the test objects only, taking on as much or as little input as required.

We have in-house experts in brake development and vehicle dynamics so customers can use AB Dynamics’ driving robots to attain objective measures from a classically subjective assessment and our experts can help customers understand how to interpret the results. 

Additionally, with the amount of driving robots, targets and platforms we have at our disposal it is possible for us to work with our customers in creating multi target ‘swarm’ type environments for the next level of ADAS and AD testing. 

Finally, many Autonomous Driving start-up companies simply may not have the facilities to complete the development testing they desperately need to develop a robust system in the pursuit of SAE Level 4 and Level 5 systems. Akio Toyoda, CEO of Toyota famously said that self-driving cars will need to log 14.2 billion vehicle kilometres of testing before they can be considered safe for the public, carried out either by physical testing or through simulation. This is why we developed our range of class-leading driving simulators which use the same consistent toolchain as our driving robots and ADAS targets, meaning complicated ADAS or AV test scenarios need only be generated once and can be taken straight from the virtual environment to be replayed in real life on the test track, saving hours of track time.

Wesley Hulshof

About the author Wesley Hulshof

Wesley Hulshof has 10 years’ experience in ADAS development and assessment, working with the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL), Thatcham Research, TASS International and Siemens PLM. He has been a member of several Euro NCAP Technical Working Groups and in 2019 joined AB Dynamics to take on responsibility for expanding the company portfolio to include testing services, taking just some of the strain from the already fully booked test facilities and enabling those who otherwise couldn’t compete in the vehicle testing world. This potential strain on resources has never seemed so apparent than now where the current global pandemic situation may compress a year’s worth of testing into a few remaining months of 2020. For this our industry, like so many others, may well need ‘all hands on deck’.

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