Vehicle Dynamics Simulation Pivotal for the Future of ADAS

This guest contribution on Innovation Intelligence is written by Chris Baker, Director of Business Development at Mechanical Simulation Corporation. CarSim software by Mechanical Simulation is a software tool for simulating and analyzing the dynamic behavior of vehicles (passenger cars, race cars, light trucks and utility vehicles). CarSim is available through the Altair Partner Alliance.

In 2015, National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) and automakers jointly announced that forward crash avoidance systems would be mandatory on all cars and light trucks sold in the United States by 2022. This is the first in what is likely to be a growing list of required Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) features hitting the roads in the coming years. As ADAS technologies become more prevalent, the challenge of how to develop, test, and validate these systems within the constraints of the short automotive development cycle will see increasing attention.

Most ADAS applications, such as forward crash avoidance systems, are designed to assist the driver in emergencies while pushing the vehicle to its performance limits. In order to capture that limit behavior, it is essential that engineers use high-fidelity vehicle dynamics software.

Mechanical Simulation Corporation is providing ADAS development engineers with accurate vehicle dynamics, ADAS tools, and ready-to-use examples designed to increase their productivity. Although many initial evaluations of new ADAS algorithms take place on a flat and level surface with just one other moving object, the ADAS behavior must also be evaluated in complicated scenarios involving road intersections and multiple moving objects, such as traffic vehicles and pedestrians. Vehicle dynamics simulation enables engineers to recreate complex situations involving multiple vehicles and sensors with easy-to-use road, path, and scenario building tools. Real-world driving routes can be imported from sources such as Google Maps and detailed 3D road intersections can be assembled.

Figure 2: CarSim demonstration of forward crash avoidance.

Simulation can be used at each step of the development process to reduce the need for physical prototypes, thereby reducing the time to market, improving confidence in the ultimate design, and driving down costs. With simulation, new ADAS features can be tested as they are developed, using common Software in the Loop (SIL) techniques before hardware prototypes exist. Because a wide range of replicable scenarios can be stored in a database, standard test procedures and edge use cases from the field can be used to evaluate the vehicle system throughout the development process in very short order.

Once hardware is available, controls and other physical subsystems can be tested safely in the laboratory, with a detailed math model in place of the components which are not available. Vehicle dynamics simulation can integrate into new or existing Hardware in the Loop (HIL) equipment, making vehicle-level evaluation of controls and subsystems possible using the same models developed for office-only or SIL analysis.  The use of a common modeling environment through various stages of the development process is very beneficial for organizations seeking to streamline processes and standardize tools.

Another important development area is the complex human-machine interactions that can be studied using realistic driving simulators. Driving simulators can be used to test and develop ADAS systems by putting the driver in the loop. A wide range of driving styles and behaviors can be tested, which means more thorough validation and higher confidence in the ultimate calibration for production. Developers and managers alike can see real drivers interact with prototype controls systems in real-life conditions to ensure desired performance.

Vehicle dynamics software reduces the effort and cost associated with ADAS engineers creating realistic testing environments and events, ensuring high confidence going into final hardware validation. Ultimately, this virtual prototyping activity improves productivity, ensures high product quality, and lowers both pre- and post-production costs.

CarSim 2017 was recently released by Mechanical Simulation, and features enhancements related to ADAS, core vehicle dynamics, compatibility with other technologies, and basic architecture to deliver best in class feature content and robustness.  For more information on CarSim, please click here.



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