The growth of cloud computing and other new technologies means car manufacturers will soon be able to predict how designs will perform with unforeseen levels of accuracy.
1. Safe testing for autonomous cars
The proliferation of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and the arrival of the autonomous car pose a lot of questions that can be expensive, impractical or downright dangerous for carmakers to test in the real world. Fancy driving your car head-on towards an HGV at 70 mph to check that the on-board systems will intervene?
Driver-in-the-Loop (DIL) simulation provides a safe, repeatable, all-weather test bench for the software hardware that will keep autonomous cars on the road. In a way, simulator testing can be more ‘real’ than the physical tests that must often rely upon the use of inflatable obstacles or cardboard cut-outs.
Some of a car’s own bits and pieces can be brought “into the loop” of simulations – for instance, communicating with real ECUs and sensor arrays – but because most of the work takes place in the virtual world, engineers have complete control over the conditions and testing scenarios.