Self-propelled platform reaches speeds of motorcycles as a “target” for testing autonomous vehicles and advanced driver assist systems
Automotive test system supplier AB Dynamics has launched a new compact vulnerable road user (VRU) test platform capable of safe and controlled testing at speeds of up to 80 km/h and braking at over 0.6g. It is the only platform that fully meets speed requirements of Euro NCAP’s AEB/LSS VRU Test Protocol for motorcycle testing due to come into effect in 2023.
The LaunchPad 80 enables the testing of Advanced Driver Assist Systems (ADAS) and autonomous vehicles with motorcyclist and moped targets in a variety of complex scenarios. Motorcyclists and moped riders are among the most vulnerable on our roads. Despite making up less than one per cent of traffic, they account for around 20 per cent of road deaths and have the highest casualty and fatality rates per distance travelled of all road users.
Testing of vehicle systems designed to tackle this disparity has so far been limited by the speed and braking capability of the available platforms. The new LaunchPad 80, the world’s fastest VRU test platform, makes realistic high-speed ADAS testing with motorcycle targets possible in preparation for forthcoming Euro NCAP test protocols.
With dummy motorcyclist or moped targets attached, the remotely-operated platform can be used to test driver assistance systems such as autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane keep assist (LKA) and blind spot detection.
Targets emulate the visual and radar profile of real world objects, ensuring a test vehicle’s systems identify the target just as they would the real thing. In the event of a vehicle colliding with the target, the compact LaunchPad 80 can be driven over by the test vehicle with minimal risk of damage. The target can be reassembled and reused.
Once programmed to follow a pre-defined path, the LaunchPad can recreate even the most dangerous real-world traffic scenarios without risk and with complete repeatability. AB Dynamics’ Synchro system ensures the LaunchPad 80 arrives at the intersection point with the vehicle being tested at exactly the right time, with the system controlling up to 16 individual test objects for even the most challenging multi-vehicle, multi-target scenarios.
Test vehicles can collide with the target and drive over the LaunchPad 80 with minimal risk of causing damage to the platform or the vehicle, while a heavy-duty version can be driven over by buses and trucks up to 44,000 kilograms.
Four-wheel drive and four-wheel steering give the LaunchPad 80 exceptional stability and manoeuvrability even during peak acceleration of 3 m/s2. Powerful hydraulic braking enables controlled deceleration at over 6 m/s2, accurately replicating the emergency events to which modern ADAS systems must quickly and decisively respond.
The LaunchPad 80’s low height, compact footprint and curved profile ensure the lowest possible radar reflectivity, reducing the possibility of interference with the test vehicle’s detection systems. Twin high-capacity batteries with a rapid swap system enable all-day testing, while quickly interchangeable wheels and fully-sealed electronics rated to IP67 ensure performance in all conditions.
AB Dynamics’ family of LaunchPad products caters to all VRU targets. The new LaunchPad 80 joins the 50 and 60 models in the LaunchPad range, which are already trusted by more than 90 OEMs, Tier 1 suppliers and test facility customers worldwide. The LaunchPad 80’s significant speed increase has been achieved through more powerful motors, doubling amplifier and battery power and engineering superior electrical efficiency from cell to wheel.