AB Dynamics develops ESS test method to accompany new Euro NCAP protocol


A repeatable, accurate and safe method to test Emergency Steering Support (ESS) systems that accompanies the new Euro NCAP test protocol.

We have worked with Euro NCAP test labs and leading vehicle manufacturers to develop a method for testing Emergency Steering Support (ESS) systems to accompany the new Euro NCAP test protocol due to take effect in January 2023.

Emergency Steering Support (ESS) systems assist the driver's steering input, altering the vehicle path to potentially avoid a collision. If a potential collision is detected, ESS systems can act much later than conventional AEB (limited to braking alone), whilst still avoiding a collision. This is because at higher speeds, it is often more effective for a vehicle to steer around, rather than brake, to avoid a stationary or slow-moving hazard. The system must only intervene when there is intent from the driver to avoid the collision through the steering. Following the driver’s initial input, the ESS system can then take over to rapidly steer around the hazard.

In the development of our ESS testing methodology, it was important that the tests were repeatable, accurate and safe. Dr Andrew Pick, AB Dynamics’ Business Director – Track Test Systems, commented on the complexities faced by the development team: “Simulating the panic steering input from a driver in response to an impending collision in a repeatable and consistent manner makes ESS testing challenging. It requires precise control of the target vehicle, the test vehicle and the triggering of the test vehicle’s steering system. Our approach accurately synchronises all these elements in the scenario to successfully conduct the test repeatably.”

To provide the accurate and repeatable inputs necessary to the test vehicle’s steering, we use our driving robots, including the Halo. This removes the variability of a human driver and inputs are controlled by our path-following system, which uses real-time feedback from a GPS-corrected motion pack to guide the test vehicle along a specified path to an accuracy of up to 2cm.  

In the ESS test, either the Soft Car 360or the LaunchPad VRU (Vulnerable Road User) platform can be used to simulate a potential collision that requires avoidance. The position and speed of the vehicle under test is synchronised with the target to ensure the specific test requirements, such as vehicle speed, overlap position, steering angle and steering angle rate, are accurately met.

“Our method for testing ESS provides the accuracy and repeatability which is crucial to any vehicle testing,” said Dr Pick. “Critically, our solution also provides a multitude of options for triggering the defined steering inputs. These variations can be tested quickly and simply using our control software leading to a thorough assessment of the system ahead of Euro NCAP testing.”

We recently demonstrated our ESS test method at the AstaZero’s Testers’ Day in Sweden. A video of the demonstration can be seen here. For more information on our track testing products, click here

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