Background: Virtually testing evaluation criteria
The vision of accident-free driving, the desire to quickly penetrate the mass market with safety systems and, of course, the customer’s desire for more safety, mean that, in addition to passive safety systems, active safety systems are becoming more widespread. Many safety systems are still optional extras for passenger cars, even if they are increasingly common, with more and more active safety functions being built into newly approved vehicles. Independent global testing institutes (such as ADAC, JNCAP, IIHS, etc.) are constantly raising the already high safety standards, thereby improving safety levels.
Euro NCAP - goals and a new test starting in 2016
The Euro NCAP (European New Car Assessment Programme), which has been conducting various crash tests and classifying vehicles accordingly since 1997, has an important role to play. As consumer protection is one of the Euro NCAP's key goals, its safety targets generally far exceed the legal standard. The Euro NCAP sets exacting safety requirements that OEMs seek to fulfill. Today the organization's star-based rating system is very well known, with criteria that have been steadily revised and expanded over time. In the course of this, tests of the emergency brake assist (AEB VRU = Autonomous Emergency Braking Vulnerable Road Users) will become mandatory starting in 2016. These tests are a prerequisite for achieving the highest number of stars possible under the new "dual rating" evaluation system.
Easy and efficient: Virtual tests of Euro NCAP scenarios
When the key aspects of a scenario include not just the vehicle to be tested but also the environment, the testing effort is high and requires many objects and road users. At the same time, the tests must be reproducible. In comparison to real-life test set-ups, virtual testing is both faster and less expensive. In order to support customers with the Euro NCAP test scenarios, IPG Automotive is continually improving its product - for example, it is now possible to use realistic pedestrian models. Since the release of CarMaker 5.0, IPG Automotive also offers three preconfigured TestRuns for protecting pedestrians (key word: emergency brake assistant - AEB VRU), the basis for the complete Euro NCAP test catalog. The test cases are defined by pedestrians stepping into the street. Three cases will be tested and are supported by CarMaker:
- Scenario A: An adult pedestrian steps into the street in the driver's lane (i.e. for right-hand traffic, he comes from the right).
- Scenario B: An adult pedestrian enters the street from the opposite lane (left side).
- Scenario C: A pedestrian, in this case a child, is hidden behind a vehicle stationary on the side of the road and runs onto the driver’s lane.
Procedure for use in virtual test driving
The scenarios reflect realistic, every-day danger situations and are thus particularly suited for testing the functionality of an emergency brake assistant. They also make clear that this functionality is essential for avoiding personal injury. According to requirements, the AEB VRU systems must recognize pedestrians at speeds of between 3 and 8 km/h.
Existing mechanisms in virtual test driving make it possible to easily and selectively vary different parameters (such as speed), allowing for quick determination of how the different test variations affect the Euro NCAP rating. Evaluating individual assistance functions in the system network will also be an option. Thanks to the fusion of sensor data, it is also possible to test assistance functions that use data coming from more than one type of sensor. This is increasingly the case with highly automated driving functions that use multiple sources to safeguard the action of the vehicle.
Safety as the central factor in development
Safety will continue to gain in importance, with the Euro NCAP targets playing a role, even in the early stages of development, in ensuring that safety-related systems always function flawlessly. That's why IPG Automotive aims to continue to offer solutions related to Euro NCAP in order to facilitate our customers’ work (for example, they will no longer need to manually configure the test scenarios). A complete analysis of the number of stars expected will be offered as an optional extra.
The innovations to be introduced in 2016 will certainly not mark the end of the road for Euro NCAP's new regulations - as in the past, automotive manufacturers can expect additional tests for new functions to be introduced over time. The organization is also seeking to make consumer protection tests globally compatible. As a result, adjustments in individual regulations and testing procedures can be expected. To read more about Euro NCAP, please visit the organization's official website: www.euroncap.com