Advanced driving simulator gives China boost in autonomous development

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The China Automotive Technology and Research Center (CATARC) has acquired the latest generation driving simulator to assist with testing and validating ADAS and autonomous technology.

The aVDS (Advanced Vehicle Driving Simulator), from AB Dynamics, is one of the world’s most sophisticated simulators, offering driver-in-the-loop testing, as well as vehicle dynamics, ride handling, ergonomics, driver behavior, and powertrain refinement.

CATARC is the first proving ground in China to acquire the aVDS and will enable Chinese manufacturers to design and test new vehicle concepts and advanced safety systems for autonomous driving.

“The use of simulators in vehicle development offers efficiency in both time and cost but it also allows us to validate autonomous technologies,” said Gongqing Li, vice chief engineer, Automotive Testing and Research Institute, CATARC.

“Investing in a third-generation driving simulator is essential if we are going to undertake virtual vehicle development effectively. The versatility of the aVDS means that vehicle systems and configurations can be rapidly tested in different driving environments with a driver in the loop. This is a core requirement for future vehicle development.”

The simulator features a stereo 10 projector system that enables both 2D and 3D viewing. It will also feature AB Dynamics’s lightweight carbon-fiber passenger vehicle cabin, including features like programmable dashboard, interchangeable automatic and manual transmissions, a cabin audio system and rearview mirrors with image displays.

Realistic steering feedback is provided by an active multi-function wheel, while an active brake pedal provides the driver with realistic dynamic road, ABS and braking ‘feel’ feedback.

A driver monitoring system from Smart Eye is able to gauge driver fatigue, distraction and workload by tracking pupil dilation, eye movement and eyelid position. The heart rate and galvanic skin response of the driver is also monitored.

“We have always been at the forefront of vehicle testing and quickly realized the importance of driver-in-the-loop simulation for future development programs,” said Dr Adrian Simms business director, Laboratory Test Systems, AB Dynamics.

“Not only can you reduce costs by avoiding early physical prototypes and mules, the aVDS also enables development to be dramatically accelerated due to the system’s versatility and accuracy.

“Additionally, the aVDS can be used to learn about the interaction between drivers and passengers with autonomous vehicle systems. For example, monitoring passenger comfort both in terms of physical movement like head-toss and passenger anxiety when the system conducts specific maneuvers.”

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As editor of four magazines at UKi Media & Events James brings over a decade of writing about, and obsessing over, technology and cars to Automotive Interiors World, Stadia, Winter Sports Technology International and Auditoria. Responsible for commissioning, writing and editing each issue he’s covered the best (and worst) from around the industry on a continual search to feature the latest innovation or talking point on the next cover.

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