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Euro NCAP Crash Tests through Hardware-in-the-Loop Simulation

Application Area

The European New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) uses a 5-star rating system to evaluate the safety of new cars through crash tests and other investigations.

This safety rating covers four areas: adult protection, child protection, pedestrian protection and safety assist.

In the past, NCAP tests traditionally focused on evaluating passive safety systems, but now active safety systems are playing an ever-increasing role. This means that using active safety systems in the automobile is a prerequisite for achieving the maximum possible 5-star safety rating.

Since 2014, the safety ratings include assessments of lane keeping assistants and autonomous emergency braking systems (AEB) in urban driving (AEB City) and interurban driving (AEB Inter-Urban). As of 2016, emergency brake assistants with pedestrian detection (AEB VRU/Pedestrian, VRU = vulnerable road users) will follow.

The Challenge

The recommended procedure is to perform these NCAP test scenarios virtually on a hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) simulator long before the vehicle and the ECUs are complete, in order to correct possible errors at an early stage. Since costly verification scenarios and test scenarios are necessary throughout the entire ECU development process, the convenient and practical method is to use the NCAP test scenarios for verification, too.

First of all, the ECU tests can be reproduced during the HIL simulation. Secondly, it is possible to make an early prediction of the completed vehicle's later NCAP rating. Finally, by using existing NCAP tests, it is not necessary to create self-made, complex test scenarios.

The dSPACE Solution

dSPACE provides an extensive test environment and all the test systems necessary for performing Euro NCAP tests and validating the relevant assistance systems through HIL simulation. The dSPACE HIL simulator, together with the dSPACE Automotive Simulation Models (ASM), which can be parameterized for the various NCAP tests via ModelDesk, provides the test components that are necessary for performing NCAP tests in an early phase of ECU verification. The ASMs are based on open Simulink models and have an accuracy that is optimal for HIL tests. If there are components that are not available yet during the early stages of ECU development, these can also be replaced by ASMs.

This makes it possible to carry out NCAP tests throughout the entire ECU validation process and to use them as standard test scenarios. The dSPACE tool chain provides all the necessary test scenarios and model parameters out-of-the-box and lets you combine the various test tools for the NCAP tests.

In dSPACE AutomationDesk you can perform the tests automatically, then record and compare the test results. AutomationDesk provides ready-to-use tests for automatically parameterizing and executing the Euro NCAP test scenarios. The test results are evaluated according to the Euro NCAP criteria and documented in a report.

In dSPACE MotionDesk you can visualize the test runs with animated, realistic 3-D scenes. Since animations can be recorded and replayed, it is easy to compare different controller development strategies by using overlay techniques.

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