Sitting back in the car and enjoying the view or reading, all while driving on autopilot — from a technical point of view, this vision of the future is already possible. Advanced driver assistance systems increasingly take over driving functions with high automation. However, human drivers will not entirely disappear from behind the steering wheel. The automated system taking over the driver’s responsibilities poses a great challenge to development, in particular in the area of sensor technology. With the release 6.0 of the CarMaker product family, IPG Automotive expands the company’s portfolio of software solutions with real-time capable sensor models with a high level of detail and thus builds a foundation for the efficient virtual testing and validation of automated driving functions.
Karlsruhe, June 12th, 2017 Two sensor models, the Radar Sensor and the Free Space Sensor+, are newly available with the release 6.0 of the CarMaker product family. Another novelty is the classification of the comprehensive collection of sensor models into the three model classes Ideal, High Fidelity (HiFi) and Raw Signal Interface (RSI).
The Free Space Sensor+ scans the environment and potential obstacles to detect free spaces, based on the detailed virtual scenario with high resolution in 3-D. In addition, the improved sensor model interface enables the implementation of own physical sensor models.
Up to now, only ideal sensor models and camera sensor models which provide raw signals could be used for testing. A typical example is the filming of a monitor or the injection of video signals using camera raw signals. For the first time, the newly introduced class of HiFi Sensors and the Radar Sensor within this class now enable the use of technology-specific phenomenological sensor models which provide object lists with characteristic false negatives and false positives.
With regard to the real-time capable modeling and generation of raw signals of radar, lidar and ultrasonic sensors, IPG Automotive has taken a major stride forward. Making the models Radar RSI, Lidar RSI and Ultrasonic RSI available in addition to the Camera RSI is planned as a next step. The Karlsruhe-based company thus pioneers the testing of all high-performance sensor models in virtual test driving.
“Thanks to the possibilities which the new release of our products opens up, comprehensive tests with real-time capable physical sensor models in realistic scenarios become possible. Whether the focus is on testing the perception or decisions to be made, sources of errors can be detected and eliminated early on since comprehensive environment recognition and actions derived from this are possible,” said Josef Henning, Team Leader Product Management at IPG Automotive, explaining the advantages and characterizing this development as “a great step towards autonomous driving.”
A federal project drives the further development of the sensor models
The optimized development and validation of autonomous driving functions is also the focus of the PEGASUS project funded by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy (BMWi), in which IPG Automotive participates as one of 17 partners. The Karlsruhe-based company provides CarMaker as an open integration and test platform as well as the comprehensive sensor model solutions for the project’s purposes. “It is the goal of the project to fill essential gaps in the area of testing up to the release of highly automated driving functions by 2019. For us, the project gives direction to the continuous further development of our sensor models as an important factor for virtual test driving,” Henning said — since the sensors and subsequent algorithms need to be tested as well as possible in a realistic environment prior to their use in real-world prototypes.