A significant increase in the quantity and complexity of vehicle testing has led to a shortage of resources in the industry.
AB Dynamics has launched a new global testing service division, driven by customer demand following the rapid expansion of the complexity and quantity of vehicle testing and assessment. The division will provide expertise, resource and equipment, enabling some customers to carry out testing that they wouldn’t have been able to previously and others to meet strict deadlines.
Regulatory and consumer testing is expanding rapidly, placing increasing pressures on manufacturers. In 2014, the Euro NCAP assessment included 6 ADAS test scenarios, in 2020 it is now 39, an increase of 650%. On top of this, the drive for safety has meant that advanced technologies that were once the preserve of prestige vehicles are now commonplace at all price levels, resulting in a growing number of vehicle models requiring driver assistance and crash avoidance testing. By 2022 many advanced driver assistance systems will be made mandatory for all new cars in 40 countries.
“Vehicle testing and assessment is more complex and requires more resource than ever before and this trend is likely to continue as the scenarios evolve,” said Wesley Hulshof, Senior Applications Engineer – Testing Services, AB Dynamics. “This poses a significant challenge, whether you are a major vehicle manufacturer or test laboratory lacking the resource to carry out the required quantity of testing, or a start-up that doesn’t have the test equipment or expertise. Our service is a scalable and flexible solution to meet the customers’ specific needs.”
AB Dynamics’ testing services are split into three distinct areas: consultancy, training and testing. It offers a scalable ‘one-stop’ testing solution, which encompasses its class-leading test equipment and unrivalled expertise. All of AB Dynamics’ products are designed and built in-house and the company works in close association with major consumer and regulatory testing groups. Its equipment is used by every Euro NCAP test laboratory as well as authorities carrying out tests for NHTSA and UNECE.
“By taking advantage of our extensive knowledge, clients can negotiate even the most complex of testing scenarios,” said Hulshof. “This allows them to progress projects as efficiently as possible, achieve greater testing capacity and enhance the skillsets of their own teams.
“In particular, customers may find our support most beneficial in staging increasingly common swarm testing environments that require the accurate control of 7, 8 or more vehicles or targets. These swarm scenarios, which are becoming essential for developing Autonomous Driving technologies, can quickly strain an entire lab’s resources and knowledge. This type of test requires a significant investment in testing equipment and choreographing the scenario can be incredibly complex,” comments Hulshof.
AB Dynamics’ unique Simpia toolchain software is used throughout all of its products, meaning complicated ADAS or AV test scenarios need only be generated once and can then be precisely replicated from virtual testing on the simulator to real life on the test track or vice versa, achieving considerable time savings.
The flexibility of the service is particularly beneficial for smaller companies who only have a limited need for testing, perhaps for a standalone project. It allows them to complete their own programme without the need for heavy investment in personnel and equipment, giving access to an ‘on-demand’ service that provides the opportunity to bid for bigger projects.
The service is tailored to an individual customer’s requirements, whether it's consultancy, training or the completion of physical testing. Using its extensive suite of industry-leading test products, AB Dynamics can provide a ‘turn up and test’ service, supplying and operating the test objects only, or, if preferred, control the entire scenario on a customer-supplied test vehicle. With several international bases and the ability to transport teams and equipment, it is a global service offering.
“Our robots and test systems have long been adopted worldwide as the first choice for vehicle testing and so our knowledge of the industry and equipment is unrivalled,” added Hulshof. “By passing on this expertise to our customers, we are ensuring that they can successfully overcome any testing challenges as a result of evolving technology and, if they do already have the relevant knowledge, help them to optimise their workload and efficiency.”
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What’s driving the expansion of tests?
Increasingly complex consumer assessment that covers a vast variety of scenarios drives advancements in vehicle safety technologies and keeps vehicle manufacturers innovating new solutions to not only pass but supersede the testing requirements.
In 2017, Dr Michiel van Ratingen, Euro NCAP Secretary General, stated that: “Euro NCAP’s programme of safety tests has achieved major, life-saving improvements in cars and has helped Europe reach the lowest road fatality rate for any region in the world.” 
Is AB Dynamics’ new testing service just about ADAS and Automated Driving?
Vehicle testing and assessment is expanding in general, as vehicle manufacturers launch more models with greater variety than ever before. AB Dynamics’ testing service can help to alleviate some of the time pressure placed on vehicle manufacturers. The testing service also includes:
Benchmarking: It enables manufacturers to understand their competitors’ vehicles and why they behave like they do. Driving robots for steering and pedal inputs enable accurate, repeatable testing eliminating driver variability.
Durability and misuse testing: Some durability testing is so physically arduous that drivers are limited to an hour per day. Using AB Dynamics’ driving robots these tests can be carried out 24 hours a day and enables extreme tests where driver injury is likely.
Brake development: Traditionally brake feel assessment has been subjective, relying on driver input. AB Dynamics’ braking robots enables objective testing to take place, and our in-house experts can help our customers understand how to interpret the results.