Autonomous management is a key topic for discussion in the industry, but as many are struggling to cope with the challenge of its evolution from the current ADAS, can modeling “Driver in a Loop” be the way forward?
The goal of highly automated and ultimately autonomous management is a key part of the automotive industry’s future ambitions. Towards this goal, manufacturers around the world are seeking to test and install better driving assistance systems (ADAS) in their cars.
However, due to the unpredictable nature of management scenarios due to unforeseen circumstances such as pedestrians, cyclists, road works and animals, this is a serious problem.
Founded in 2009, Ansible Motion creates and deploys technologies related to the physical and logical modeling of man-made vehicles. The company offers a range of Driver-in-the-loop (DIL) simulators used by drivers and product development engineers.
The company is currently using DIL technology to provide a robust and repeatable simulation method to estimate the growing number of scenarios that can present themselves as a stand-alone vehicle.
To find out more, we spoke with Jan Heim, Head of Sales at Ansible Motion.
Just Auto: Could you give me information about the company?
Yang Hay: Ansible Motion has been developing and supplying Driver-in-the-Loop car simulators for over a decade. In 2009, we released the first commercially available, highly dynamic motion system designed specifically for automotive modeling.
Since then, the company has grown to offer a full range of turnkey DIL simulators, from compact stationary offerings to full-size dynamic simulators.
Our DIL simulation offerings are engineering tools and they are used mainly by car design teams and developers. Our customers use DIL simulators because it allows them to learn new concepts at an early stage and often in the process of developing them.
They can make discoveries about their cars in real-life situations and assess the effects of design changes before any metal is cut.
Could you explain DIL simulators and how they work?
In fact, our goal is to connect real people with virtual vehicles and the world. This means that we involve people in what would otherwise be computer simulation of cars, and provide “virtual test control” in the lab rather than on a physical landfill or on real public roads.
Implementing this, providing compelling, realistic virtual test drives is truly our specialty. We take on all the hard work that makes it possible behind the scenes. This way, our customers don’t have to worry about it – they can just get on board and get on with the task of designing their machines.
When we raise the curtain on DIL simulation, the first thing we’ll see is a series of software and hardware systems that work together in real time, like an orchestra. Real-time execution and synchronicity are a must because a real person is always “up to date,” always involved and interacting.
If something lags behind or incorrectly alters physical, visual, or auditory information to a human participant, a virtual test drive will not work, will not be acceptable. Thus, our top level of work is to ensure that all software and hardware systems work together, in terms of a turnkey system.
In addition, it is a question of compliance of the contents of the DIL simulator, in the sense of delivery of the product, to the type of work carried out with it, to the intended use. To this end, we offer a number of different DIL simulator products, namely our Theta series, Sigma and Delta series. Each product range has different content designed to perform different car development tasks.
Our Theta DIL simulators are compact stationary and sometimes portable systems. These simulators provide a gateway to the world of DIL, in which a person can connect and participate with very complex simulations of the physics of vehicles and the environment with a very small volume.
Our Sigma series provides more real-world experience for experiments where it may be needed – such as V2X research or HMI work – where a realistic or representative cabin environment is required. Our flagship Delta series contains everything we can offer in terms of DIL technology, including full-size, high-performance motion capabilities.
The Delta series provides complete emotional immersion, so expert evaluators can experience realistic, informative virtual test drive sessions.
How can this technology help in the development of autonomous vehicles?
Driver-in-the-Loop remains a powerful and useful tool for product development even for Level 5 autonomy, where the driver actually becomes a passenger. Even if the task of driving is removed, you still have a person who interacts with the vehicle and decides whether he has good experience, so any tool, such as DIL simulation, that offers a brief overview of this interaction, will be useful for developing a vehicle. means.
But, of course, we will not jump immediately to the 5th level of autonomy. In vehicles with the possibility of self-driving on a part-time basis, there are a number of problems with human participation and behavior that require attention.
For example, human-centered design (which is perfectly suited to cars as consumer goods) should study and understand human behavior when confronted with new technologies.
How does a person interfere with the transition to autonomous transmission? What audible, tactile, and visual signals are best suited for warnings and warnings about the capture task? If a person is offline, will it be inconvenient or problematic for a person to engage in non-managerial tasks? Are alternative seating arrangements practical or desirable if the vehicle is actually in motion? To what extent should autonomous action be introduced if the aim is to improve vigilance without fundamentally violating the driver’s sense of security or control of the vehicle? The list is wide.
Apart from autonomous control, where else has this technology been used?
You can find our DIL simulators used worldwide in automotive OEMs, Tier 1, tire manufacturers, high-level motorsport organizations, universities and research institutions. The applications and uses are wide and include all the traditional areas of automotive product development that you can imagine.
Fundamental chassis design (suspension, steering, tires, kinematics, gait) as well as active chassis control is a key area. The Vehicle Dynamics Arena is a place where you will see a number of published case studies of customers concerning the use of our simulators.
Other popular areas today are NVH, transmission and especially EV development. Motorsport is still the sector we supply (to prepare for racing and optimize settings), but much of our business today is centered around road cars.
Most of our recent projects have included elements of ADAS, Active Safety and Autonomous Vehicles, and customers are increasingly realizing that cycle traffic is useful for developing HMI and infotainment interfaces, as well as traditional human factor experiments.
Experiments can be performed repeatedly and safely, within a controlled laboratory environment, so there is no risk to humans or machines. You can also explore the endless environment and possibilities of scenarios – many of which may be impossible or very expensive to replicate in the real world.
For example, what happens when it rains? What will happen if there is a puncture in the tire? What happens if there is a malfunction and safe mode is enabled? In the DIL simulator lab, these cases are just a few keystrokes away.
What are the main benefits of this technology when looking at the automotive industry?
Embedding DIL simulation in the core car design process is generally seen by our customers as the best way to achieve a return on investment.
Car manufacturers are facing a constant contraction of their development cycles, and the pressure to enter the market is growing every day. At the same time, they are expected to cover and integrate more technology than ever before.
This is a challenging task, and simulation is clearly seen as one of the key tools that can come to the rescue. Of course, stand-alone modeling is already an integral part of the whole car development process. It begins at the earliest stages, during pre-development, when market targets are initially set, and it continues into post-production to support small and major changes in the model.
But most of the impact is seen on the front. Example: last year General Motors announced that its all-electric Cadillac Lyriq SUV came out nine months ahead of schedule. This is a stunning effect for any new vehicle, especially for such a complex one that meets such high market expectations. This could only be achieved in one way – through a strong reliance on virtual engineering and simulation.
Because Driver-in-the-Loop has the unique ability to connect real people with a simulation environment, even at the forefront of car development, it’s ready to serve the cause – and serve it well.