Virtual test driving qualifies as efficient development and validation tool for future vehicles

Review Open House 2015

The result of the Open House 2015 was a full house and 350 satisfied participants. The event has established itself as the industry event for virtual test driving. Guests were all motivated by the same questions: How can I ensure efficiency in vehicle development? Which processes does virtual test driving support best? Which new features offers the upcoming CarMaker release?

The questions were as diverse as the participants themselves. From vehicle developers and managers to start-up founders, research experts and interested students, every interest group was represented and curious to hear what IPG Automotive had to announce.



Steffen Schmidt, Managing Director of IPG Automotive, greeted the audience and directly addressed one of the main trends in the automotive industry today, "We believe that virtual test driving is a very good method for supporting validation strategies for autonomous driving".

Virtual testing is used increasingly in the field of driver assistance systems to counter increasing testing and validation costs.

As keynote speaker, Lothar Rogowski of Continental gave an impressive report based on practical experience, with virtual test driving used as part of the strategic orientation of Continental's ESP validation process.

Rogowski's conclusion, "At Continental we have chosen the IPG HIL and SIL platforms throughout Europe. We are currently experiencing a clearly perceptible increase in synergy effects."

Four sessions were held to introduce the audience to current challenges in the vehicle development process and propose possible solutions. Live demos with CarMaker demonstrated how just a few mouse clicks in the right place are appropriate to develop the desired test scenario quickly, and many in the audience took away some useful tips for their own projects.

Lothar Rogowski from Continental

First session: ADAS

The first session provided an overview of current challenges facing driver assistance systems, including new technical solutions, a high degree of interaction, as well as externally-driven challenges such as standards from the organization Euro NCAP. Some Euro NCAP tests were presented live, as in future corresponding test scenarios will be available in CarMaker. The session emphasized the importance of frontloading, i.e. the ability to be able to test 'earlier under realistic conditions'.

Second session: Hardware & test systems

The second session was also dedicated to the subject of driver assistance, concentrating on multiple chains of effects for testing driver assistance functions with a focus on 'Hardware & Test Systems'. It was particularly interesting to see how virtual test driving can be applied throughout the entire development process, from Model-in-the-Loop, Software-in-the-Loop, Hardware-in-the-Loop to Vehicle-in-the-Loop. Engineers are constantly developing new solutions to meet new technological challenges, e.g. the VideoInterfaceBox for testing camera-based assistance functions that are increasingly installed in vehicles. Different modules and test systems from the hardware area, for example IPG’s solutions called Xpack4, contribute to testing new systems with single-source solutions and to the continuous and efficient development of control devices and sensors, e.g. for crash tests and situations for active driver assistance systems.

Third session: Powertrain

In addition to conventional systems, the third session , Powertrain, focused primarily on the options for testing electrified and hybrid powertrains. An ego and a ghost vehicle were used to demonstrate 'turbo lag' in CarMaker. Thanks to a comprehensive interface expansion, it is now even easier to integrate proprietary models into the system.

Fourth session: Control systems & vehicle dynamics

The fourth and final session provided an overview of the challenges and innovations in the field of 'Control Systems & Vehicle Dynamics', with a 'live' on-stage demonstration of the refined test automation tool TestManager, for optimized generation and validation of results. In this case, 'live' is meant literally – the presenters demonstrated a high-speed car chase in CarMaker. It was also shown how two running CarMaker applications were linked to see how two autonomously driving vehicles react if they meet on each other – as this is one of the central challenges in vehicle development.

Accompanying exhibition & Driving Action

Between the sessions, the accompanying exhibition provided an opportunity to learn more about application scenarios for virtual test driving at 26 booths, ranging from driving simulators and gearbox simulation to validation of ECU software using fully virtual ECUs with CarMaker.

In a repeat of the previous year, a further highlight was a demonstration of the Vehicle-in-the-Loop method, but with an important improvement. This time, visitors could wear a head-mounted display and watch a virtual scenario while sitting in a real vehicle. The car then parked into a virtual parking space, with the experience described as "truly impressive" by passengers.

The common interest in virtual testing connected the participants with each other at the Open House 2015 and the younger generation is already waiting in the wings. Gymnasium Tegernsee demonstrated its enthusiasm for virtual testing with a project using CarMaker to analyze traffic situations on the typical way to school. At the end of the event, Tobias Loritz from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology took first place in the first SimulOscar prize for his bachelor thesis Autonomous Driving: Functional Development of Supported and Autonomous Steering Systems within the Context of X‐in‐the‐Loop (XiL).

The Open House party at the end of the presentations gave participants the opportunity to reflect on the day's events and get to know experts from other areas in an informal atmosphere. In 2016, the Open House will again provide a platform to exchange information about CarMaker, hardware products and current projects and discover the solutions that the CarMaker product family offers for current challenges.