VIL Systems: Connecting Real-World and Virtual Test Driving with Ease

Our vehicle-in-the-loop technology helps you bridge the gap between HIL tests and real-world test driving. This technology involves having a test driver in a real vehicle maneuver around an open space, while test scenarios are virtually transmitted to the driver via a display. By embedding real components in the virtual environment, you can perform realistic tests – and at the same time, your test scenarios can be reproduced and automated as you please.

Particularly in the area of driver assistance, vehicle-in-the-loop makes conducting tests with many road users and a detailed environment easy – this ensures that you can make statements about system maturity at an early stage! You can also use vehicle-in-the-loop to perform Euro NCAP tests before your vehicle is finished, giving you an early indication of which rating your vehicle will receive.

What we offer you in our VIL systems

  • The system under development can be easily evaluated in a real vehicle using the CarMaker open integration and test platform, which includes a complete environment with road users, etc.
  • No risks to people or materials during the development process
  • Considerable time and cost savings thanks to the absence of real-world setups, e.g. target setups
  • The ability to immediately test technical functionalities and their impact, e.g. correcting a fault with a view to the entire system
  • Advanced system maturity as a result of testing individual components at an early stage

Vehicle-in-the-loop technology

Connect a real-world vehicle to the virtual world – the result is a high-performance testing environment for your components! Vehicle-in-the-loop technology enables you to test real-life components integrated into the entire system network, particularly in later phases of development. Thanks to virtual test driving, you will have everything that is required to thoroughly test your system and its functions in the context of the whole vehicle. See for yourself how vehicle-in-the-loop tests can be used to optimize your development process.

System overview

Do you have any questions about vehicle-in-the-loop? We have the answers! We are well-equipped to meet the specific requirements of this technology:

  1. Determining the exact position of the real vehicle and transferring the position, movement and location into the simulation.
  2. Implementing the sensor interface between the device or assistance function under test in the real vehicle and the corresponding stimuli from the virtual world.

The implementation of the sensor interface is similar to implementation in a classic HIL environment. The same principle applies: Different technical solutions are used in signal injection for different types of sensors, such as ultrasonic, radar, lidar or camera sensors.

For the high-precision requirements for determining the position of the vehicle, we always use a high-end IMU (inertial measurement unit) combined with GPS and DGPS. A specially developed interface enables the vehicle model used to be replaced by the real vehicle. 

The testing procedure is as follows: The driver maneuvers the real vehicle around an open space, while all the relevant objects for the test case are created in the simulation. The virtual environment is displayed to the driver either on a monitor in the car or using augmented reality solutions.

The advantages of a vehicle-in-the-loop test vehicle

If a groundbreaking solution for efficiently testing advanced driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions is already available, what are you waiting for?

Five reasons why you will be impressed by vehicle-in-the-loop technology:

  • You can experience the functions in your development processes up close, thanks to the merging of real vehicles and the virtual world.
  • You benefit by using rapid prototyping for the vehicle functions in your development process.
  • Your reproducible, individually configured scenarios can be tested with simultaneous real-world vehicle dynamics.
  • You can perform closed-loop scenarios with ease and optimize your functions parameter by parameter.
  • Your virtual environment is always in view, thanks to augmented reality devices and head tracking.

Areas of application

With vehicle-in-the-loop, we offer you support in another important phase of the development process in order to validate your functions. As VIL allows you to reach an advanced stage of system maturity, series production maturity is only a step away:

  • Perform the relevant tests of advanced driver assistance systems for product approval.
  • Safely test functions during the early stages in real boundary conditions across a wide range of scenarios.
  • Use real movement patterns of virtual pedestrians in place of costly physical setups for meaningful Euro NCAP tests.

Carry out studies of human machine interfaces using human test participants in a real vehicle. Choose vehicle-in-the-loop technology and drive forward your development process in the area of advanced driver assistance systems. Our experienced engineers would be glad to provide various customer services and engineering services to help you implement and use the technology.

Experience vehicle-in-the-loop: our example solution

We have realized the technology in-house for demonstration purposes as one of the many possible application variants for an ultrasonic park assist system. The complete structure is mounted in the trunk of the test vehicle with a corresponding control unit. One of the key components is the RoadBox – a compact Xpack4 real-time system, in which the simulation kernel and the vehicle run parallel to each other. From here, the vehicle’s original ultrasonic sensors are stimulated via a specially developed sensor box. The test driver can easily operate the system on a separate host PC with CarMaker from the inside of the vehicle. Looking to perform other tests in the laboratory? No problem: Simply remove the unit from the vehicle and continue using it in a HIL environment at your work station.

Would you like to experience our system firsthand? Would you like to see for yourself how the real and virtual worlds merge? Test the vehicle-in-the-loop method yourself and arrange an appointment.

The technical advantages of VIL:

  • Real vehicle dynamic influences are taken into account, allowing functions to be experienced firsthand
  • Physical reproduction of the sensor interface (e.g. the control unit is stimulated with emulated signals when testing a park assist system)
  • No need for restbus simulations 


Systems which can be tested using VIL:

  • Camera-based systems (e.g. line detection and lane departure warning systems, traffic sign recognition, etc.)
  • Ultrasonic-based systems (e.g. park assist functions)
  • Radar-based systems (e.g. adaptive cruise control)
  • Lidar-based systems (e.g. city brake assist)
  • Multi sensor-based systems (e.g. emergency brake or blind spot assist systems)

Find more information here.

Research project ReTivU with vehicle-in-the-loop at FZI (Apply & Innovate 2014)
4.85 MB / PDF / 2014 / FZI, Dr. Thomas Schamm  / English

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