CAV simulation software overcomes safety concerns
UK simulation software specialist, rFpro, has developed a new technique that helps to overcome the safety concerns around testing and developing connected autonomous vehicles (CAVs) on public roads. By developing a physical model of the real world, known as the Ground Truth, rFpro can accurately test the vehicle's perception of its surroundings, which has not been previously possible.
This will enable legislators to define an approval process for a vehicle within a completely virtual environment, certifying it as safe to use on real roads. The technique is already being used to validate vehicle safety in Euro NCAP tests.
'Most system modelling begins with ideal sensor models in order to validate the algorithms and control systems of the vehicle, but this bypasses any limitations in the sensors themselves,' explained Chris Hoyle, rFpro's technical director. 'Difficult lighting conditions, or the reflections in a shop window can corrupt a sensor's perception of the vehicle's surroundings, leading to potentially catastrophic errors. Thorough validation of a CAV or ADAS-equipped vehicle must include the sensors' ability to recognise and characterise the features of its environment.'
The ability to evaluate the sensors' perception during simulation matters because future legislation is likely to dictate the virtual testing and approval of any autonomous system before its use on public roads is permitted. The whole system must therefore be tested in a fully representative virtual environment, not just elements of it.
Due to the vast number of miles required to validate an autonomous vehicle in a huge number of different environments, it is not feasible to do this in the real world. Sensor perception is the most challenging aspect because it requires a physically accurate virtual world with high levels of correlation to the real world and physically modelled sensors.