This technology is based on the same premise as the already established Vehicle-in-the-Loop method (VIL): The driver should be able to experience the way the advanced driver assistance system (ADAS) works. This requires complex test scenarios that are difficult to achieve in real test runs and therefore present significant challenges for the development departments. The solution is embedding a real vehicle in a virtual environment, such as that offered by CarMaker – the environment can be configured as desired.
Experiencing Advanced Driver Assistance Systems at Early Stages of Development
The goal of VIL is to make it possible to experience assistance functions at a very early stage in their development – after all, it is essential that safety-critical functions such as an emergency brake assistant already function in the real prototype. Other assistance systems also involve lots of development work in the early stages, because they interact with other components (parking assist systems, for example, intervene in steering). VIL enables the testing and experience of these functions at an early stage – and makes system errors relatively easy to correct. With VIL, a real vehicle is embedded in the environment by showing the driver the virtual environment on a monitor or a head-mounted display. The vehicle remains in an outdoor area through the entire test phase, and the driver can be sure that neither people nor materials will be damaged. The scenarios are configured in the open integration and testing platform CarMaker, which makes it possible to adjust ADAS-related environmental factors, such as traffic lights, pedestrians, preceding vehicles or the time of day, with just a few clicks of the mouse. The maneuver- and event-based approach facilitates reproducible testing of complex scenarios, such as a pedestrian crossing at a crosswalk.
The “Mini VIL” Project
With its intuitive operation and diverse range of testing options, IPG Automotive’s test vehicle equipped with Vehicle-in-the-Loop technology has met with considerable interest. IPG Automotive launched the “mini VIL” project in August of 2015, in order to better demonstrate how this technology works and make it available to a large public at exhibitions and the Apply & Innovate. As part of the project, which spanned several months, three students rebuilt a model vehicle so that it would function just like the original test vehicle. Furthermore, it enables a wide range of small-scale tests with low safety-related expenses.
Implementing the Project
IPG Automotive's real-time capable hardware components are an essential element of the mini VIL model vehicle. The battery-operated RoadBox forms the core of the body, together with M35, M408 and M441 hardware modules. The procedure is as follows: The user can assume the position of the driver by steering and operating the accelerator and the brake with a joystick. The driver's perspective – transmitted by a camera mounted on the model vehicle – is displayed on a screen. The vehicle is maneuvered in an outdoor area and its movements are transmitted to the virtual CarMaker vehicle model. The currently implemented advanced driver assistance functions are the active acceleration control (ACC) and the autonomous emergency braking system (AEB). In the future, it should also be possible to test collision avoidance systems with the mini VIL demonstrator.