BBC News decided to take a close look at the complex and detailed driving simulators that are used by large automobile manufacturers to test their latest models. On Monday morning, BBC presenter, Sally Bundock, interviewed Ansible Motion’s managing director, Dan Clark, about the cost and time-saving aspects of Driver-in-the-Loop simulators.
The BBC interview begins with the following from Bundock:
These simulators provide a tool for car companies to develop new vehicles and conduct testing on new components like tyres. . . . This sounds exciting and it’s interesting. But for the car industry, this is new tech saving them time and money. Is it as simple as that?
That’s absolutely correct. The car industry is going through many step changes in technology at the moment, as we know, associated with the move to electric vehicles, other fuel types, the advancement of safety systems, and the drive towards autonomy. And these simulators provide car makers with an engineering tool to reduce both the duration and the risk of the design phase by doing more efficient development in a virtual environment. Our Driver-in-the-Loop simulators put humans in contact with a virtual vehicle at a very early stage in the development process, and that allows humans to make a huge input into the design, characteristics and features of the vehicle before time is committed to building prototype vehicles for real world testing.
Probing further, Bundock asks if simulation is more accurate than real-world testing, to a degree.
Clark provides some additional insights:
I wouldn’t say that it’s more accurate. One of the most significant differences between simulation and real-world testing is the safety aspect. A simulator is essentially a very safe environment which mitigates the risks to both humans and expensive equipment. This is particularly important when we look at the development of new, advanced safety systems – which are becoming more autonomous in their nature. Simulation allows manufacturers to explore purposefully dangerous situations and scenarios before committing to real-world testing and the associated risks.
In the UK, the full interview can be viewed on the BBC website. For others, the interview is embedded above.