HIL testing for advanced automotive technology

National Instruments responds to requirements for more advanced ADAS and autonomy testing with updates to VeriStand software to enable HIL testing.

Test engineering and technology specialoist, National Instruments (NI) has updated its VeriStand software, as used by embedded software test engineers to build and run hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) verification systems, to cater for the growing need for such testing in the automotive industry.

With the emergence of vehicle autonomy and connectivity, engineers in the industry are facing increasingly compressed schedules and constantly changing requirements. The VeriStand platform and NI’s HIL systems are the most open and customisable platforms available on the market to help companies meet these changing demands and future-proof their test systems.

HIL or “Harware-in-the-Loop” testing enables faster development cycles by enabling software simulation routines to be performed as a complete system with hardware elements “plugged into” the simulation as required. Rather than waiting for an entire hardware prototype to become available, complete system level testing can be performed on each piece of hardware as it becomes available.

Engineers take advantage of NI’s HIL systems to tackle the increasing complexity of embedded software and rising number of testing scenarios required as the newer technologies that make up next-generation vehicles like advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), automotive radar and vehicle-to-everything (V2X) communications become commonplace in embedded control systems. By building on open and proven technology software and hardware platforms, NI can quickly add native support for these new technologies to ensure customers can achieve complete software test coverage.

“Through NI’s flexible platform-based approach, we could easily customize the HIL system to integrate specific test requirements for the vehicle electronic controllers,” said Zhang Fuli of Beijing Jingwei HiRain Technologies, an NI Alliance Partner. “The NI software and hardware systems made it easy to add functionality to our tests and satisfy the practical requirements of automotive HIL testing while retaining stability and reliability, and reducing the overall development cycle.”

VeriStand is the software core of NI’s HIL systems. It combines real-time simulation, data acquisition, communication protocols and control into a common platform for the most complete HIL test software on the market today. And unlike traditional HIL software that is defined by the vendor and hard to modify, VeriStand can easily be extended and customised to meet customers’ particular test requirements. With the newest release of the software customers can:

* Achieve complete test coverage by taking advantage of the full breadth of NI I/O, including RF and camera processing.
* Use their models from over 30 different modelling tool and simulation environments such as The MathWorks, Simulink software and IPG Carmaker to test ECUs for the latest embedded software trends such as ADAS and autonomous vehicles.
* Create professional looking UIs quickly and interact more efficiently with live tests using the completely redesigned UI manager.
* Connect with third-party hardware and software through the industry-standard ASAM XIL API.
* Work more efficiently with extremely large models using the improved model handling engine.

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Road scanner gives eyes to autonomous vehicles

Finnish technology company unveils road scanning system to reduce wear on roads by guiding autonomous vehicles round potholes.

Automatic road surface condition monitoringAs vehicle autonomy, platooning trucks and vehicle lane guidance systems become more of a reality and full autonomy is on the horizon, one company from Finland is providing an answer to the concern that such vehicles will have a detrimental effect on road surface quality.

Since cars will be programmed to follow the rules of the road and position themselves optimally in accordance with lane markings, some parts of the road surface will be subject to more wear than others. Also, without the ability to take corrective action to avoid potholes and other surface features, such defects will be made worse with constant vehicular impact.

According to Timo Saarenketo, the President and CEO of Finnish technology provider, Roadscanners, if cars don’t react to the presence of potholes, more and more of them will drive over them and worsen their condition.

“This is why cars should have sensors that automatically report the condition of the road to the highways agency and even other road users through the use of a road scanner,” he explained.

Saarenketo went on to say that autonomous cars will navigate the road as if they’re on rails, without corrective manoeuvres, which will lead to the road surfaces becoming tired and more prone to repairs.

The management of this needs to happen well in advance, he says, since some estimates predict that by 2025, half of the global vehicle fleet will be autonomous.

“The need for the automotive industry and highways agencies to cooperate in meeting this challenge is clear and new new technology can help. Roadscanners is able to make its contribution to the maintenance and care of road networks,” he said.

The core technology of Roadscanners is related to the digitalisation of traffic with Intelligent Transport Systems (ITS) and autonomy.

“Digitalisation has been Roadscanner’s starting point for product development for the past 10 years. There is hardly anything new in the path to the digital model. What is unique is the fact that we can dive deeper and make a digital image of the road surface. Based on the sensor data from Roadscanners technology, proactive maintenance can be performed and significantly reduce overall costs,” Saarenketo concluded.

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Australian consumer report lacking in safety ratings

ANCAP is calling for new car safety ratings to be included in an important consumer report for the Australian market.

The Australasian New Car Assessment Programme (ANCAP) is calling on the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC) to broaden the scope of its market study into the new car retailing industry to include safety rating information.

According to ANCAP’s Chief Executive Officer, James Goodwin the failure by the ACC to recognise the importance of safety rating information as a key element in the new car buying process is unfortunate.

“This study is an important step in understanding consumer needs in a changing and competitive marketplace but information about vehicle safety ratings and how safety is presented in showrooms and advertising should be a focus area,” he said.

According to ANCAP, survey results indicate that about 90% of people buying new vehicles believe that ANCAP safety ratings should be displayed on all new cars.

“Consumers invest significant amounts of money in a new car purchase so it is important to ensure safety information is correctly marketed and no competitive advantage is gained from brands or dealers through the misuse of vehicle safety ratings,” Mr Goodwin said.

The ACCC market study will review industry practices in the sector to assist in identifying risks to consumers and the competitive process as well as explore purchasing behaviours and new car buyer expectations.

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TRL defines future transport research projects

A report from the UK Transport Research Laboratory defines cyber security, simulation and machine learning as three central aspects of future vehicle research.

Cyber security, virtual reality and machine learning are at the centre of a series of ground-breaking research projects being delivered over the coming year by experts from the Transport Research Laboratory (TRL).

These critical topics have been identified as key areas that will inform and evolve the ever-changing global transport landscape, with further projects developing the research around areas such as truck platooning, data science, mental health, smart infrastructure, head injuries and driving simulation.

Funding for the projects is one part of the annual investment made by TRL in innovative research and development and is supported by parent company, the Transport Research Foundation, a non-profit distributing organisation. The programme of ten innovative projects was devised by the TRL Academy in response to the challenges facing future transport and further supports TRL’s independence and impartiality.

Professor Nick Reed, TRL Academy Director, comments: “It is an absolute honour to be part of a process which helps to drive the future of transport. Choosing the projects that will go on to shape policy, design and technological development is always a challenge but we apply key criteria around ensuring the research is relevant, disruptive and deliverable. More than that, it is about providing the TRL team with the opportunity to follow their ideas – no matter how left field – in a structured and strategic way.

“I continue to be impressed by the ingenuity and vision of my colleagues as they advance projects beyond the theoretical and deliver practical, evidence-based knowledge which can be applied to solve complex transport challenges. With an overall goal to produce a transport system that is safe, clean, affordable, accessible and efficient, it is a real privilege to be at the forefront of such innovative research.”

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Cycling event to raise cash for road safety campaign

The Johannesburg Telkom 947 cycling event is aimed at raising sponsorship to fund improvements in road safety for protecting South African children.

Over 30,000 cyclists will participate in the 20th edition of Johannesburg’s biggest cycling event, the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge, which will be held on Sunday 20th November.

As part of its effort to raise funds for the much needed children in road safety initiative, Xperien has invited other corporates to ‘Ride for a purpose’ and join the cycle team from local company, Xperien at the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge. The campaign aims to raise R300,000 (around £17,000) for Wheel Well.

Xperien’s Urban Mining initiative aims at assisting non-profit organisations that provide education and assistance for disadvantaged children in South Africa. It is an ambassador for Wheel Well, a non-profit organisations that focuses on safety for children.

Xperien CEO Wale Arewa says Wheel Well is the only not for profit organisation that focuses exclusively on children in road safety. “It is a small organisation with a huge task at hand.”

The Xperien Cycling team was established specifically to raise awareness for this non-profit organisation. The team and its supporters network at key cycling events to create exposure for sponsors in return for their contribution.

“With car crash death and injury remaining unacceptably high, our work is more urgent than ever. The exposure that we will enjoy during an event such as the 947 Cycle Challenge is immensely valuable and funding will give us wings to fly,” says Peggie Mars from Wheel Well.

A sponsorship of R1650 (£95) will secure entry to the Telkom 947 Cycle Challenge and includes registration fee and cycling shirt. Alternatively, to support this initiative, there is the ability to ‘Challenge a rider’ by sponsoring a rider per kilometre with a minimum of R1 (£0.06) per kilometre.

“We are deeply honoured that Xperien partnered with us in this challenge and grateful that we will be enabled to do what we do best, road safety for our dearly beloved children,” Mars concludes.

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Automotive research company gains MoD award

HORIBA MIRA gains recognition from the MoD for its support of ex-military personnel in returning to civilian employment.

Former corporal employed at HORIBA MIRAThe UK’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) has recognised vehicle advanced engineering specialist company, HORIBA MIRA with its Employer Recognitioin Scheme (ERS) Silver Award.

The award is given to employers that that pledge, demonstrate or advocate support to defence and the armed forces community and align their values with the Armed Forces Covenant, something which HORIBA MIRA signed earlier this year.

Alongside its civilian staff, HORIBA MIRA has a long history of also employing ex-services personnel and reservists, making use of the unique capabilities and skills that such people acquire through working in the armed forces. This is particularly the case in terms of expertise in technology areas that are yet to enter the civilian domain.

In keeping with their pledge to support the armed forces community, HORIBA MIRA has also implemented a ‘Reserve Forces Training and Mobilisation Policy’, which supports reservist employees throughout their training and deployment. The policy provides up to 10 days leave for the reservists’ annual camp, as well as flexible leave for staff impacted by a partner’s deployment.

Andy Marriott is a Research Technician for HORIBA MIRA. Having joined the company in 2013 shortly after leaving the Regular Army, Andy currently serves as a Royal Electrical Mechanical Engineer Army Reservist. He said: “Prior to working for MIRA, I served in the Army as a Vehicle Mechanical Engineer, servicing and maintaining armoured military vehicles.  My experience with heavy goods and armoured vehicles has been recognised by HORIBA MIRA and I am currently working on a number of military contracts for the company and for companies based within the MIRA Technology Park.”

Marriott continued to explain that the support he receives as a Reservist is second to none with the ability to take some time off from work for Force training and exercises.

In addition to employing ex-armed forces personnel, HORIBA MIRA also works closely with the defence industry through testing and engineering consultancy.  This includes supporting the MoD and its suppliers on programmes such as Panama and the HORIBA MIRA Modular Autonomous Control Equipment (MACE) route proving and clearing system. The technology allows intelligent UGVs to be operated in both tele-op and autonomous modes up to 2km away in the detection of Improvised Explosive Devices.

Dr George Gillespie OBE, CEO at HORIBA MIRA, said: “We are very honoured to have won this award in recognition of MIRA’s continued support for those who have served and are currently serving in the military.  Armed Forces veterans and reservists have a unique understanding of the challenges facing the transport sector and being able to harness this talent by supporting them as they move into civilian life is hugely beneficial for both parties.”

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Mobile enforcement takes to the streets in Southampton

ANPR equipped vehicle now forms part of enforcement system for roads in Southampton with emphasis on school parking violations.

Southampton City Council mobile enforcement vehicleVidealert has supplied Southampton City Council with a mobile enforcement vehicle, which supports multiple traffic enforcement and community safety applications simultaneously and will be used in conjunction with Videalert’s recently installed hosted Digital Video Platform.

The council’s Highway Manager, John Harvey commented on the ease and cost-effectiveness of its deployment, stating that it integrates with the Videalert enforcement systems that are already in existence within the city including extensive bus lane enforcement cameras.

Commenting on the areas in which the mobile enforcement vehicle will be used, Harvey stated, “It will be used strategically across the city to enforce a range of parking contraventions and to enhance community safety”.

Community safety is at the focal point of keep clear zones outside schools, where cars are often unlawfully parked at school drop-off and pick-up times causing danger to children. Responding to complaints made by school staff as well as parents, the mobile enforcement vehicle will be looking for vehicles that contravene the keep clear areas.

The heart of the enforcement technology on the vehicle is made up of three roof-mounted cameras. These include one PTZ (Pan-Tilt-Zoom) camera, an Automatic Number Plate Recognition (ANPR) camera and a colour image capture device.

The combined images and data from the cameras form the evidence pack, which can be used to make prosecutions, once they’ve been downloaded onto a USB device and reviewed to confirm that offences have taken place.

The download, review and PCN production process has been made as simple as possible by Videalert and can be achieved in three clicks. The packs include still images and video footage comprising contextual information and close-ups of appropriate signage in the vicinity of the offence.  Operators just have to validate number plates before exporting complete evidence packs to the back office PCN processing system.

According to Tim Daniels of Videalert, the Digital Video Platform from the company can offer significant benefits in terms of extended enforcement options without additional IT infrastructure investment.

Commenting on the range of enforcement options now available to councils, Daniels added, “With the introduction of this new vehicle, Videalert is now able to provide the full suite of CCTV traffic and parking enforcement systems comprising attended, unattended and mobile using the same intelligent platform.”

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More progress required on US teenage driver safety

Report from Ford and the GHSA shows that older teenagers are still over represented in fatal accident statistics in the USA.

Ahead of the USA’s “National Teen Driver Safety Week”, which takes place from October 16th to 22nd, a new report shows that teenage drivers in the country are still 1.6 times more likely to be involved in a fatal crash than their adult counterparts and teenage-involved fatal crashes increased by 10% in 2015.

The report from the Governors Highway Safety Association (GHSA) was funded by a grant from the Ford Motor Company fund and demonstrated that this latest trend is a set-back as progress has undoubtedly been made during the last decade in reducing traffic accidents involving teenage drivers in the USA.

In America, youngsters can begin their driving career as early as 15 and much of the progress in the last decade has related to the younger end of the teenage bracket whilst those aged 18 and 19 are still involved in larger numbers of accidents.

Commenting on the report, Jim Graham, Global Manager for the Ford Driving Skills for Life programme said, “This data shows that smart programmes like Driving Skills for Life focus on teenage driving behaviour and have been very successful in helping novice and younger drivers be safer on the roads.”

Ford and the GHSA were involved in creating the Driving Skills for Life programme 13 years ago and was designed to teach newly licensed teenagers and parents the necessary skills for safe driving beyond what they learn in standard driving lessons. The basic premise behind Ford Driving Skills for Life is to provide a step in the learning process.

The programme has trained more than one million individuals in safe driving practices and is offered in 35 countries with hands-on driving clinics having been conducted in all 50 American states, Puerto Rico and the District of Columbia.

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Low US driver awareness of lighting maintenance

Osram responds to survey results with advice to American drivers on how to optimise lighting for safer night driving.

Automotive lighting surveyResearch performed by Osram America’s Sylvania Automotive Lighting division revealed that seven out of ten drivers are increasingly concerned about driving at night in the USA.

Conducted online in June 2016 by KRC Research on behalf of Sylvania Automotive Lighting, the findings indicate that the majority (62%) of approximately 1000 American motorists surveyed occasionally avoid driving during evening hours due, in part, to difficulty seeing hazards and other drivers (28%), discomfort with other vehicles’ headlights and brake lights (26%) and decreased trust in other drivers‘ abilities at night (25%).

“Do you want to see better when driving at night? Most people answer yes but do not know there are choices and don’t act on it if they do know,” said Brian Noble, marketing manager at Sylvania Automotive Lighting. “Headlights are an active safety item and the first line of defence on a vehicle, especially during evening hours when roads are dark and dangerous. If drivers cannot see objects on the road, they cannot react. Every second counts and can make all the difference. If you can see an object sooner, you can make a better decision.”

When it comes to headlight maintenance, the survey found that a third of drivers have never changed their headlight bulbs. As a comparison, these motorists have replaced their vehicle’s oil (95%) and windscreen wipers (87%), indicating that headlights are an overlooked component during vehicle maintenance. Making matters worse, 63% of respondents admitted they would only plan to replace one burned out headlight instead of both at the same time, a common mistake among drivers on the road today.

Noble advises: “Always try to swap headlight bulbs in pairs, they are on the same amount of time, and don’t wait until they burn out for a replacement. Headlights dim over time, so if you can’t remember the last time they were changed, now is probably a good time to consider a replacement. This in turn will help drivers feel safer and more confident when driving at night.”

The majority (83%) of drivers agree that better performing headlights are definitely connected to increased vehicle safety, and 63% admit changing their headlight bulbs is a very important precautionary measure. Additionally, just under half of drivers would be likely to change to better headlights if they knew it would improve the safety of their passengers, yet noticeably more would do the same for their brakes (61%) or tyres (55%).

For premium safety during nighttime driving, the Sylvania SilverStar family of automotive lighting includes a variety of high performance headlight bulbs to suit individual needs and driving styles. Sylvania SilverStar ULTRA is the farthest downroad headlight bulb in the company’s product suite. It is also designed with a whiter light which improves contrast of items on or near the road. Together, these features enable motorists to see farther down the road with increased side road and peripheral visibility.

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Smartphone app rewards good driving with coffee

Toyota Driving Barista app trialled in Japan to reduce distracted driving amongst young people in the country.

A campaign has been running in Japan in which three major companies have teamed together to reward drivers for not using their mobile phones behind the wheel.

Japanese car manufacturer Toyota teamed up with Komeda and KDDI to deploy the “Driving Barista” smartphone app. The app records trips that the driver makes and the instances where the smartphone is being used in some way.

The pilot project was launced in the Aichi Prefecture of Japan and 37,000 drivers downloaded the app between 20th September and 6th October before making trips with a cumulative distance of 2.6 million kilometres.

Throughout that distance, the drivers using the app travelled without distraction from their mobile phones and contributed to improved safety on the Prefecture’s road network.

Apart from providing a fun way of increasing awareness levels of road safety and reducing accidents caused by distraction, the drivers were rewarded with coupons that could be redeemed in Komeda coffee shops based on the accumulated distance travelled without being distracted by smartphones.

Those who took part in the campaign have until the end of this month to redeem their coupons after which Toyota will investigate other awareness methods targetted towards reducing driver distraction.

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