AB Dynamics debuted its Ground Traffic Control system at Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo and Automotive Testing Expo 2019. The system links all the assets on a proving ground, ranging from automated vehicles on test, soft car, motorbike and pedestrian targets, as well as service vehicles, traffic lights and robotized vehicles going through other test procedures (such as durability testing) to ensure safety and repeatability of procedures.
Andrew Pick, business director for track test systems explained, “the idea is that you can make track scenarios that are completely repeatable, or you can make small changes every time.”
The system uses one central server, with separate computers for different processes to manage all vehicles. As part of the system, all vehicles also have ‘track-fi’ radios, which use a power mesh to ensure every vehicle can talk directly to another in a true two-way system.
“A final functionality of the base station is safety. If you’re running tests, you want to be able to stop all the vehicles if the operator decides that’s important. You can trigger emergency stop signals from the base station and those need to be reliable and failsafe. We use things like safety watchdogs, which are broadcast continually. If one of the watchdogs is lost, all the vehicles, or a set of vehicles will be stopped.”