How can special components and systems such as imaging sensors and their control units be tested in the laboratory under conditions that are as close to reality as possible? The over-the-air (OTA) approach, in which a sensor is stimulated directly with its physical input variable such as radar, lidar, ultrasound, or light waves, has proven successful for this purpose. OTA testing offers the unique advantage of looking at the function and performance of all processing stages in their entirety – from the front end (lens, imager, antenna, RF receiver, etc.) to the output signal. The special charm of this solution: The component under test is used exactly as in its application – without any intervention or modification.
Solutions for OTA Testing
dSPACE offers industry-proven OTA solutions for the common sensor technology of automated vehicles. In sensor stimulation, for example, they imprint targets from a virtual environment on the carrier waves of the respective sensors, which the sensors detect and evaluate. The test solutions can be scaled and extended as required:
- Number of sensors
- Combination of sensor types
- Test procedures with different sensor data
OTA tests are performed in real time for relevant sensors as well as for complete sensor setups consisting of different sensor types.
Our Solution Highlights for Over-the-Air Testing
- Particularly realistic testing of sensors and ADAS/AD applications
- Validation of the entire sensor transmission channel
- Very fast and thorough real-time tests
- Simple test setups
- Short commissioning time
- Seamless integration into existing test environments
To test the sensing capabilities of a camera, we provide over-the-air stimulation solutions for the camera’s imager chip. For this purpose, these test setups are equipped with a monitor that displays the simulated sensor environment e.g., a traffic scenario with multiple vehicles, pedestrians, roadside structures, etc. The entire chain of effects is considered in the test. There are test setups for individual sensors and whole vehicles.
To test the entire chain of effects, the dSPACE Automotive Radar Test Systems (DARTS) provide over-the-air stimulation of the radar sensor. If needed, the stimulation can include the front bumper and parts of the chassis of the vehicle. With this approach, all the software and hardware layers can be taken into account, from the radar antennas and the RF unit to the processing stages in the radar ECU. Moreover, our solutions even include a mechatronic radar test bench with dynamic and continuous angle simulation that lets you test radar sensors during closed-loop operation.
How great would it be to test object detection with ultrasonic parking sensors directly in the vehicle? In other words, a comprehensive functional test without removing the sensors and without making changes to the vehicle or the automotive bus systems concerned, and above all, without any movement, neither by the vehicle itself nor any object in front or behind the vehicle. At dSPACE, we can offer this kind of test system – the Mobile Ultrasonic Sensor Test System.
Staged Solution Portfolio
In order to test appropriately in different development phases, the solution portfolio offers further injection options for sensors that complement the OTA approach. For example, simulated or recorded sensor data can be injected directly after the front end or processing stages. This ensures consistent tests with reusable test data.