Mike Dempsey, managing director of Claytex, explains the capabilities of the company’s AVSandbox advanced simulation system, which will be presented on the company’s booth (6200) at next week’s ADAS & Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo, June 13-15, 2023, at the Stuttgart Messe, Stuttgart, Germany.
Describe your company
Claytex was founded in 1998 in Leamington Spa in the UK. The company started as a consultancy, then grew into a specialist partner for Dassault Systèmes and rFpro, as well as a developer of simulation tools and solutions. In January 2022, Claytex was acquired by Technia, a knowledge leader in PLM and simulation.
Claytex – a Technia Company – works with Formula 1 and NASCAR teams, as well as automotive OEMs, to deliver systems engineering simulation models and tools covering many different applications, which are helping to create the next generation of transportation and mobility products.
In June 2022, Claytex launched AVSandbox as a comprehensive, advanced simulation solution designed to help vehicle manufacturers work toward ‘safety by design’ for autonomous vehicles. AVSandbox is built around rFpro and provides physics-based sensor models that enable automotive manufacturers to test, develop and deploy AV solutions in the real world without compromising on safety.
What will you present in Stuttgart this June?
AVSandbox is an ADAS and AV simulation solution that provides a sensor-realistic simulation environment to immerse your AV into the virtual world. To enable this, the simulation platform includes physics-based
vehicle and sensor models, traffic and pedestrian controllers and interfaces to plug in your AV controller. In addition, we include tools to configure and manage simulations, define scenarios and analyze the simulation results.
The simulation platform can then be used in many ways, including the generation of training data, algorithm development, controller optimization and safety assessment. We provide the tools to simulate your scenarios and assess the performance, behavior and safety of your autonomous vehicle in a risk-free environment. Support for open standards and the provision of APIs further enable you to customize the solution to integrate it into your development process.
Why do you think it will be interesting to visitors?
AVSandbox offers a very high level of fidelity in the simulation while also ensuring that the simulation is deterministic. Of course, we can still run simulations at a simpler level with smooth roads and ideal sensors, but with AVSandbox the same tool can stay with you through the life of the project.
The virtual worlds available for AVSandbox are millimeter-accurate digital twins of real-world locations that are built from survey-grade lidar and refined by graphics artists to achieve the highest level of realism. Coupling this with the multibody vehicle dynamics models and physics-based sensor models provides a highly immersive environment for the AV controller.
The recent advances in ray-tracing techniques build further on this level of fidelity to produce sensor feeds that are indistinguishable from the real world.
Can you give a specific example of how it has helped with ADAS or AV development?
AVSandbox has been used to test AV controllers on a wide range of scenarios to identify failure modes and assess their performance for safety assurance. Using an interface to a third-party edge case database, we were able to automate the exploration of a large set of scenarios to identify the cases where the AV failed and either resulted in a collision or a near miss that would be unacceptable for the occupants. Using this information, the AV controller could be refined and retested to ensure that the complete set of edge cases being tested could be handled in an appropriate way.
The immersive simulation environment provided by AVSandbox meant that the controller did not have to be modified to run in the simulation environment. The sensor models all output the same data streams as the real devices so that the controller cannot tell it is in a simulated world.
Whom do you hope to meet in Stuttgart?
We are keen to speak with AV and ADAS developers looking for the next level in simulation technology so that we can help them achieve their project goals. We will also be speaking with existing partners and looking for further partners who provide complementary tools and technologies such as HIL test equipment, scenario databases and safety assessment tools.
Mike Dempsey is the managing director of Claytex and a technical expert in modeling and simulation using Modelica and FMI. He studied automotive engineering at Loughborough University before working on powertrain simulation at Ford and Land Rover. Meet Mike and the Claytex team, and over 150 other relevant ADAS/AV tech companies, at ADAS & Autonomous Vehicle Technology Expo Europe – exhibition entry is completely free – register here.