Soft Target Picks Up Speed for Automotive Testing

| Transport

The moving target can be used in swarm testing to test complex autonomous control

Self-propelled soft target with integrated ABS can now reach higher speeds for testing ADAS and autonomous control systems

UK automotive test system supplier AB Dynamics has launched a new Guided Soft Target (GST) vehicle, the GST120, which is capable of safe testing at highway speeds of up to 120kph. The GST120 brings a new level of performance to the company’s portfolio of ADAS (Advanced Driver Assist Systems) test systems, incorporating ABS braking and the latest version of its sophisticated control software.

The GST120 extends the company’s range of established test tools used for reproducing real-world driving scenarios on vehicle test tracks, essential in the development of driver assistance technology.

The soft target takes the place of a real vehicle during the evaluation of vehicle collision detection and crash mitigation systems, and can sustain a collision without damage to itself or other vehicles. The GST has comparable visual and radar characteristics to a real vehicle, enabling the test vehicle’s sensor systems to be reliably tested.

Moving Target

The GST consists of a dummy vehicle called the Soft Car 360 fixed to a remotely operated platform. The Soft Car is made from collapsible foam pieces. It has been adopted by Euro NCAP and NHTSA as the global vehicle target for ADAS testing. The platform carries the Soft Car dummy vehicle and can be overrun by another vehicle without damage.

AB Dynamics developed the GST120 in response to customer demand for a moving test vehicle target that can not only travel at highway speeds, but also stop rapidly to test increasingly complex high-speed scenarios used in the development of sophisticated driver assistance systems.

Key advances in the GST120 includes a higher top speed, an increased battery capacity and an anti-lock braking system, all of which make the target ideal for current and future test requirements, which are increasingly focused on autonomous driving.

The GST120’s 4.8kWh battery is the largest of any platform available on the market, enabling extended uninterrupted testing. The addition of ABS enables rapid deceleration, which is required to safely test the performance of emergency braking systems in high-speed car-to-car following scenarios.

“As manufacturers make the transition from driver assistance to full autonomy, a higher degree of testing and verification is necessary, including safe testing at higher speeds than just the typical urban scenario,” explains Dr Andrew Pick, Track Testing Director at AB Dynamics. “The GST120 retains all the convenience features of our existing self-propelled GST vehicles, such as being rebuildable in under eight minutes and minimising collision damage to the test vehicle, but comes with extended speed capability and an enhanced range of software tools.”

The GST’s software includes a variety of new tools specifically aimed at developing highway scenarios as well as post processing and graphing software utilities within a single integrated environment. These improve efficiency, reduce processing time and support the typical scenarios required for ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing.

“We have to anticipate the testing needs of the industry as they evolve, so we can bring proven products to market in time to meet demand. The GST120 is the latest example of this philosophy,” concludes Pick.

The GST120 joins AB Dynamics’ family of ADAS soft targets, which include whole vehicle and vulnerable road user (VRU) targets, all of which can be accurately synchronised with a number of vehicles for the testing of complex scenarios encountered in the real world.

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