NI looks to improve safety and reliability test for autonomous vehicles

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National Instruments (NI) has unveiled a Vehicle Radar Test System (VRTS) that will enable engineers to test 76–81 GHz radar technology from the R&D lab through to high-volume production test and covering individual radar sensors as well as integrated advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS).

The VRTS combines NI’s mmWave front end technology, a PXI Vector Signal Transceiver (VST) and application-specific software but, unlike traditional automotive radar simulators that are only capable of obstacle generation for functional behaviour test, the VRTS has integrated a 76–81 GHz vector signal generator/analyser that has been designed for dynamic obstacle generation and comprehensive RF characteristic measurements.

According to the company by using a more comprehensive approach to radar test that includes both traditional and hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) test techniques, engineers will be able to deliver a more robust autonomous driving technology to comply with evolving regulatory requirements.

“We can use the VRTS to configure the industry’s most advanced ADAS test systems to improve the safety and reliability of vehicles,” said Michael Konrad, Konrad Technologies founder and CEO and cofounder of the ADAS Innovation in Test (IIT) Consortium. “The advanced synchronisation capabilities of PXI when combined with LabVIEW allows us to simulate even some of the most advanced sensor fusion environments combining GNSS, radar, cameras and even lidar.”

The VRTS scales from a base configuration that can emulate two obstacles to sophisticated configurations that can emulate four independent obstacles per PXI chassis. Key VRTS attributes include the ability to simulate Doppler effect velocity of up to 250 km/hr, minimum obstacle range of 4 m, object distance resolution down to 10 cm, support for multiple angles of arrival and variable radar cross sections. The VRTS includes both object simulation capabilities and the radar measurement suite.

Engineers can also take advantage of the flexibility of the software to use VRTS to simulate scenarios ranging from a pedestrian walking across the street to lane-change driving scenarios.

NI will distribute the VRTS through VRTS Specialty Partners including Hirain Technologies, Konrad Technologies, Linktron and Noffz Computer Technik.