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Call for AEB to be standardised

Date: 29 November 2018   |   Author: Simon Harris

Automated emergency braking should be standard on all vehicles, according to the director of Ansible Motion. Simon Harris finds out more.

It might be difficult to imagine that vehicle safety testing for many car manufacturers across the globe begins at a facility in Norfolk.

Ansible Motion started in 2009, identifying a need for a type of driving simulator that delivered a level of valuable feedback comparable to training programmes, but with much of the immersiveness associated with video games.

Since then, it has designed, built and installed 25 simulators for vehicle manufacturers around the world, in which they can test any feature before putting it on the road.

Increasingly, the simulators have been required to recreate the actions of autonomous features as manufacturers have explored the routes to self-driving vehicles. 

But Ansible Motion's director, Kia Cammaerts. believes that while the technology has a number of convenience benefits, mandating automated emergency braking on all vehicles could eliminate the majority of road accidents.

"If it were standard on all new vehicles, we would probably eliminate 80% of all road accidents without any further advances towards fully autonomous vehicles,"
he said.

Since automated emergency braking was introduced, initially to prevent a collision with a slower or stopped vehicle ahead, it has been enhanced in many cases to recognise pedestrians and cyclists.

Initially, Ansible Motion expected customers would be professional race teams (it works with three Formula 1 teams) but it is the automotive megatrends of connectivity, electrification and autonomy that are now driving most of the interest in its technologies.

It is supplying 'driver in the loop' (DIL) simulators to well-known vehicle manufacturers that use them for ride, handling, powertrain dynamics and, increasingly, to help to answer the difficult questions surrounding fully
autonomous driving.

According to Cammaerts, the rising use of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) presents a fascinating challenge for vehicle verification and testing, perhaps more so than any other aspect of a vehicle as this is where the actions of a machine and a human driver become entwined. Humans are therefore a vital part of the test and verification process for vehicles with ADAS content.

And he says it is imperative that manufacturers understand how a driver who is stressed, tired or distracted responds to sensor-derived information and/or system interventions, to discover if it will ever be possible for a connected car to deliver a safe, pleasant and seamless experience on the road.

Cammaerts says the simulators are tailored to the customer's own requirements and can be fitted with the specific cabins of the vehicles they are meant to be in, to give a more authentic experience.

However, the pedals are designed by Ansible Motion and are intended to replicate the feel and movement of the particular vehicle being simulated.

During our visit, we tried three different scenarios, including a racetrack, a motorway and a town. The simulators can be programmed to reproduce real roads or circuits, or they can be bespoke.

The motorway drive included another vehicle suddenly pulling out of its lane into the path of the simulator car, which activated the AEB system, while the town drive featured other potential hazards.

While many car manufacturers are offering autonomous and semi-autonomous technology on vehicles, Cammaerts says the vision of self-driving cars was a much easier idea to sell to consumers than the journey to that destination.

"Assistance systems have increased the pace of development, and take-up," he said, "But it will most likely take longer to reach fully autonomous vehicles than was originally imagined."