AB Dynamics launches fastest self-propelled guided soft target for vehicle testing
Leading automotive test system supplier AB Dynamics has launched a new Guided Soft Target (GST) vehicle, the GST120, capable of safe testing at highway speeds up to 120km/h.
The GST120 brings a new level of performance to the company’s portfolio of ADAS test systems, incorporating ABS braking and the latest version of its sophisticated control software.
The GST is an established test tool used to reproduce real-world driving scenarios on vehicle test tracks, essential in the development of driver assistance technology.
It takes the place of a real vehicle during the evaluation of vehicle collision detection and crash mitigation systems, and can sustain a collision without damage to itself or other vehicles. The GST has comparable visual and radar characteristics to a real vehicle, enabling the test vehicle’s sensor systems to be reliably tested.
The GST consists of a dummy vehicle called the Soft Car 360 fixed to a remotely operated platform. The Soft Car is made from collapsible foam pieces. It has been adopted by Euro NCAP and NHTSA as the global vehicle target for ADAS testing. The platform carries the Soft Car dummy vehicle and can be overrun by another vehicle without damage.
AB Dynamics developed the GST120 in response to customer demand for a moving test vehicle target that can not only travel at highway speeds, but also stop rapidly to test increasingly complex high-speed scenarios used in the development of sophisticated driver assistance systems.
Key advances in the GST120 includes a 120 km/h top speed, an increased battery capacity, and an anti-lock braking system, all of which make the GST120 ideal for current and future test requirements, which are increasingly focussed on autonomous driving.
The GST120’s 4.8kWh battery is the largest of any platform available on the market, enabling extended uninterrupted testing. The addition of ABS enables rapid deceleration, which is required to safely test the performance of emergency braking systems in high-speed car-to-car following scenarios.
“As manufacturers make the transition from driver assistance to full autonomy, a higher degree of testing and verification is necessary, including safe testing at higher speeds than just the typical urban scenario,” explains Dr Andrew Pick, Track Testing Director at AB Dynamics. “The GST120 retains all the convenience features of our existing self-propelled GST vehicles, such as being rebuildable in under eight minutes and minimising collision damage to the test vehicle, but comes with extended speed capability and an enhanced range of software tools.”
The GST’s software includes a variety of new tools specifically aimed at developing highway scenarios as well as post processing and graphing software utilities within a single integrated environment. These improve efficiency, reduce processing time and support the typical scenarios required for ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing.
“We have to anticipate the testing needs of the industry as they evolve, so we can bring proven products to market in time to meet demand,” says Dr Pick. “The GST120 is the latest example of this philosophy.”
The GST120 joins AB Dynamics’ family of ADAS soft targets, which include whole vehicle and vulnerable road user (VRU) targets, all of which can be accurately synchronised with a number of vehicles for the testing of complex scenarios encountered in the real world.