Comfort Systems: Comfortable Driving – Comfortable Testing

Alongside safety, comfort is one of the most compelling sales arguments for a vehicle – which is why it should be given due attention during development. Aside from chassis tuning and interior design, vehicle comfort systems provide a significant degree of additional luxury. In addition to established features such as the use of navigation devices, the intention is to make other tasks increasingly easier for drivers, or in some cases to take them away entirely, as with parking and knowledge of speed limits on a given stretch of road. But comfort is a very subjective thing, which is why a diverse range of factors such as reaction times, driving modes, etc. must be taken into account when assessing it. 

You can satisfy the need to carry out and evaluate such assessments at the earliest possible stage by employing virtual test driving. This has become even more relevant since the increased use of functions, and the extensive networks formed between them, have led to a sharp rise in test expenditure. Virtual tests make this effort manageable and allow you to evaluate both the system itself and how it interacts with other systems. Furthermore, you achieve the goal of providing customers with reliable on-board assistants. Options for adding comfort, from assistance systems to connected services, continue to experience dramatic growth, and the many different possibilities are far from exhausted – you, too, could be among the pioneers!

Adaptive cruise control systems

Keeping the right distance

Cruise control is almost a standard feature in every vehicle nowadays; and even its successor ACC (adaptive cruise control) is becoming increasingly common. But features that make for a comfortable ride present several challenges to developers, such as a system’s ability to act throughout the entire range of speeds, including in stop-and-go traffic, where particular attention is paid to ensuring easy control. In ACC systems, the distance to the vehicle in front is controlled via engine and brake interventions. It needs to work perfectly to avoid dangerous situations.

At the same time, it should blend seamlessly with the other driving functions performed in normal traffic flow. In the virtual world, you can consider all the potential aspects in advance, so that less fine-tuning is required in the real world: avoid sharp braking, brake and accelerate comfortably in traffic jam situations, deal with false negatives and false positives, etc. Play it safe with virtual test driving – regardless of whether you are developing cruise control, adaptive cruise control or intelligent speed adaptation (ISA) systems.

How virtual test driving can benefit your tests

  • Configure all necessary traffic scenarios in the virtual world, including those that would be difficult to set up in real life, e.g. convoys or the ‘autonomous traffic’ CarMaker functionality in order to test your ACC systems.
  • Easily produce any scenarios you desire, from heavy traffic situations through to rural journeys with our scenario writing facility.
  • Transfer recorded, real-world scenarios to the virtual world at the click of a mouse with scenario generation.
  • Test the impact of false negatives and false positives with the sensor models in the CarMaker product family.
  • Validate additional information from other functions (e.g. speed limits).
  • Test the most complex scenarios as well as different levels of validation without any major expenditure by embedding a real vehicle in the virtual environment with vehicle-in-the-loop testing, e.g. handover from ACC to AEB.
  • Use a test catalog for automated ACC testing with our Test Ware Packages.
  • Evaluate the most suitable HMI display, e.g. how to display insufficient distances to the vehicle in front.
Park assist systems

When parking ceases to be an art and becomes a technology

Myths, prejudice, and family stories abound where parking is concerned. However, thanks to park assist systems, modern vehicles are able to relieve drivers of this task and maneuver safely into a selected parking space. To ensure that this happens flawlessly at the first attempt, systems need to undergo rigorous testing. Nevertheless, there are many factors to contend with, such as the tremendous variations in parallel and perpendicular parking spaces, from on-street parking to parking garages, the lack of orientation provided by incorrectly parked vehicles, hidden obstacles, etc. 

To consider all the different variants in advance, an extensive maneuver catalog must be tested. Do this in the virtual world and you will be able to optimize your park assist systems right at the beginning of the development process so that they score highly in subsequent real-world test drives thanks to high levels of system maturity.

How virtual test driving can benefit your tests

  • With the help of our Test Manager, test parallel and perpendicular parking as well as other applications automatically using the maneuver catalog.
  • Evaluate the functionality of ultrasonic or radar sensors using our sensor models in a detailed virtual environment.
  • Incorporate special camera sensors, e.g. fisheye lenses, as a basis for specialized functions such as bird’s eye view and 360 degree surround view systems, for additional parking displays.
  • Use collision recognition in CarMaker to automatically record collisions when parking and optimize your park assist system accordingly.
  • Carry out functionality checks, e.g. parking space detection, at different speeds and in a variety of weather conditions.
  • Optimize information displays for drivers as part of an HMI evaluation, for instance using participant tests on the driving simulator.
  • Experience real-world parking scenarios in the virtual world with vehicle-in-the-loop and vary parking space scenarios with different road users in a reproducible way at the push of a button – markedly reducing test expenditure in the process.
Traffic sign recognition

From speed limits to no passing signs – Always maintain a clear overview

Traffic sign recognition is camera-based and forms the foundation for issuing warnings when a speed limit is exceeded and for systems that automatically fix a vehicle’s speed. This function is extremely useful – though it not only needs to operate in perfect conditions, but must also recognize and process the permissible speed when interference is present, for instance when visibility is impaired by fog, or when signs are twisted, dirty, dented, partially covered by trees, etc. 

There are many conceivable scenarios that need to be considered during development to guarantee the robustness of the systems. Likewise, factors such as different angles (position of cars or trucks) and varying heights (e.g. ground-level signage on temporary road construction) play an important role. Moreover, what development team has time to travel through every nation on earth just to make sure that country-specific traffic signs are universally recognized? This is nevertheless possible, since such types of extensive testing can be conducted with virtual test driving in a time and cost-efficient manner.

How virtual test driving can benefit your tests:

  • Enjoy access to extensive catalogs in the CarMaker product family and benefit from the option to easily create your own catalogs with any signs you desire.
  • Test the robustness of image processing algorithms with regard to rare cases and ambiguous scenarios, e.g. a bike on a camper or speed limit stickers on a truck.
  • Identify false positives and false negatives in the test results and optimize them using suitable methods, ranging from Physical Sensor Models through Monitor HIL and our Video Interface Box to vehicle-in-the-loop solutions.
  • Achieve reproducible test scenarios with large numbers of components, run repeatable, automated, customized test scenarios in virtual test drives, including oncoming lights in extreme darkness or heavy fog.
  • Test interactions with other advanced driver assistance systems, such as intelligent cruise control and highway assist systems, to ensure that functions are performed without difficulties.

Find more information here.

Multi Function Mono Camera integration into motorcycles: MotorcycleMaker at Continental Engineering Services (Apply & Innovate 2016)
1.76 MB / PDF / 2016 / Continential Engineering Services GmbH, Paul Schlitz, Tobias Butz / English
Traffic sign recognition: CarMaker at KIT (Apply & Innovate 2016)
3.59 MB / PDF / 2016 / Karlsruher Institute of Technology (KIT), Dominik Dörr, Björn Fath / English
Adaptive cruise control: CarMaker at TU Braunschweig (Apply & Innovate 2016)
4.65 MB / PDF / 2016 / TU Braunschweig, Thorsten Meister / English
Physical sensor model for CarMaker by TU Graz (Apply & Innovate 2014)
2.38 MB / PDF / 2014 / Graz University of Technology, Prof Dr. Arno Eichberger / English

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