AB Dynamics’ range of systems include the LaunchPad platform, which permits the mounting of dummies such as pedestrians and cyclists, for vulnerable road user AVE test targets. (AB Dynamics)

AB Dynamics supports Germany’s PEGASUS project test of multiple autonomous vehicle control

The project’s aims include defining test procedures and creating a common methodology of safeguarding highly automated driving functions.

Test systems supplier AB Dynamics has announced it will support PEGASUS, Germany’s new testing procedure for automated vehicles (AV). PEGASUS has been established to standardize complex and synchronized AV testing scenarios, and involves OEMs/suppliers including BMW, Daimler, Opel, VW, Bosch and Continental. TÜV SÜD, a global technical-services supplier, will be responsible for the physical proving-ground tests.

AB Dynamics will provide technology to repeatably and accurately control multiple vehicles to ensure consistent and actionable test results. Specifically, it is applying its Flex-O by-wire control-path following for active guidance, and its synchronization system for targets and test vehicles. Additionally, AB Dynamics’ driving robots, guided soft targets (GST) and LaunchPad platform will be used to create realistic testing scenarios.

These tools “bring test scenarios to life,” said Andrew Pick, the company’s track test systems business director. “Testing autonomous functionality necessitates highly complex traffic scenarios involving multiple vehicles that are positioned accurately,” Pick explained, “the movements of which must be perfectly synchronized, otherwise the significance of data from repeated tests is severely diminished.”

Simulated collisions
Pick noted that that AB Dynamics’ GSTs could be used for situations where there is the potential for collision: “Other background traffic, at minimal risk of collision, can be populated by regular cars using Flex-O control as a cost and time-effective solution,” Pick said. “Even vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, can be included by mounting dummies on our LaunchPad or SPT motorised platforms. The movement of every entity is coordinated through our Synchro system using TrackFi wireless telemetry.”

AB Dynamics will have two main roles in support of PEGASUS. The company’s common software protocols and open interface for desktop, laboratory and track testing will allow the direct comparison of results from different test regimes. Secondly, its range of complementary track test technologies will enable autonomous vehicles to be tested cost-effectively in proximity to a variety of other road users and vehicle types.

“While the technical building blocks for autonomous control exist, the task of training a self-learning system to cope with the complexity of the real world requires new methods and approaches,” said Robert Matawa, TÜV SÜD’s lead engineer, testing and certification, highly automated driving. “The standards to which a vehicle would be certified, and even the test procedures to demonstrate compliance have yet to be developed and agreed upon.”

Matawa added that effective safety approval for AV functions would demand unlimited time and resources unless new methods and tools are developed. “The PEGASUS project aims to provide these by creating a database of relevant scenarios from multiple sources, and a common, complete tool chain with which to process it,” Matawa explained. “AB Dynamics supplies many of the key ingredients that enable us to fulfill this important task.”

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