Show Review 2017

More tech innovations presented at Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2017

The story of the day comes from UTAC CERAM, which is discussing details of its new US$3.3m semi-anechoic test chamber at its facility in France. The recently opened pass-by noise test facility enables analysis according to the latest standards, and has been designed to improve the accuracy and repeatability of evaluation.

Laurent Benoit, CEO of the company, says, “The challenge on this project was to use the existing semi-anechoic chamber, keeping all the existing structures. Therefore, conception took some time, including the process of choosing a supplier.”

The 21 x 17 x 6.5m facility is equipped with sound insulation supplied by dB VIB, a 4WD Clemessy rolling road chassis dyno, two rows of PCB Piezotronics microphones combined with Siemens data acquisition and analysis software, and Clemessy-supplied driving robots.

In addition, UTAC CERAM is in the process of developing a US$22.2m autonomous vehicle test facility, scheduled for opening in 2018. A range of traffic scenarios will be reproducible at the test base in urban, highway and city environments. Different targets will also be available, such as bicycles and motorcycles. Furthermore, there will be offices and workshop space.

According to Benoit, it is expected that “around 50 new experts will be taken on over the next year” in preparation for the opening of the facility.

Another big story today comes from Horiba, which is debuting its brand-new Stars Enterprise Lab Management Suite, a system that incorporates web and mobile apps on a cloud-based platform to address specific problems in the testing environment. Developed over a two-year period, the innovation is currently being piloted by seven major OEMs, according to Horiba’s global manager of test automation systems, Alex Pressl.

“One of our main objectives was to create a system that will simplify the lab manager’s daily tasks,” says Pressl. “The system provides the actual status of all the connected measurement equipment in the test cell. Status information and measurement data can be visualised using customised displays. Faults can be indicated for immediate alert, allowing the laboratory personnel to react quickly, avoiding the waste of valuable and costly test time.

“The app also facilitates remote control from anywhere to any device for quick access and further analysis of a problem, even if the specialist is hundreds of miles away.”

Over on the Colmis Proving Ground stand, visitors can learn more about the company’s new Colmis Cold Climate Driving Licence and mandatory driver training programme. More than 300 drivers have already completed the course, which aims to increase safety awareness and driving capabilities.

“We’ve had surprisingly good feedback so far. Even though all who partake are test drivers, when it comes to emergency situations, they are surprised by their skills,” says technical director, Stefan Rundquist. “We’ve learned that coaching is so important because every driver is different and will make different mistakes. No matter the skill level of the driver, even for the very experienced, we’ve been able to improve their skills and deepen their understanding of braking distances on ice and snow.

“The off-road part of the course has also been received very well because again, people think they are able to easily handle situations, particularly as they are driving at a very low speed, but afterwards they are more humble, once they have learned that there is always room for improvement. It really has been an eye opener for people.”

More generally, testing for ADAS and autonomous vehicles is an ongoing area of development for Colmis, and has been a central focus of many discussions at the show. Rundquist says, “Here at the exhibition we’ve had many questions about this type of testing and we see that customers are actually unsure of how to approach it. We are here listening, ready to provide support.”

More news announced on the second day of the show came from Kistler, which is showcasing its Digital Transducer (DTI) technology for crash tests measurements, and sharing news of the technology’s use at Continental Safety Engineering’s development site, where approximately 550 sled tests and 450 crash tests are currently performed each year.

Utilised within Continental’s crash test dummies, Kistler’s DTI technology can be installed in all dummy models, including THOR-M. It converts the analogue signal into digital signals directly at the sensor, and transmits this to a central data recorder via a digital data bus circuit. Post-test, the data is downloaded via the vehicle communication box for evaluation by the facility computer on Ethernet.

“Besides the reliability and the high data quality that results from this, there are significant benefits from the reduced space requirements: less bulky data acquisition system required in the trunk, and the replacement of the thick analogue sensor cabling with a single digital cable from the dummy to the vehicle, resulting in an easier installation and reduced time to prepare a test,” says Christoph Schäfer, vehicle safety sales support within Kistler’s automotive research and test division.

Such is Continental’s satisfaction with Kistler’s DTI technology that both parties are already in intensive discussions for other projects.

Elsewhere on the show floor, BIA is showcasing its next-generation multi-axial acceleration sled with pitch and yaw functionality, while also highlighting its involvement in the installation of a new climatic emissions lab at an OEM R&D center in France. The new facility enables testing to Euro 6 emissions regulations. Housed inside are three soak rooms, an environmental test chamber equipped with a Maha AIP emissions chassis dyno, a Horiba gas analyser, and BIA control and management software.

The third and final day of Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2017 will open on Thursday, 22 June at 10:00hrs (CET) and close at 15:00hrs (CET).

Day 1 Show News

Automotive Testing Expo Europe opening day debuts innovative technologies

With more state-of-the-art technologies on display than ever before at this year’s Automotive Testing Expo Europe, which opened today and goes on to Thursday 22 June in Stuttgart, visitors to Europe’s leading automotive test, evaluation and quality engineering show have been greeted with numerous brand-new technology launches.

Among the innovations grabbing attention is Test World’s new indoor winter test facility expansion at its site in Finland. The project will increase the capacity for testing on natural snow and ice, and introduce wet and dry braking, aquaplaning and split friction surfaces.

The site currently has two indoor winter test facilities, which can be used in the milder months when the outdoor snow and ice tracks are not available. The proposed expansion will create three additional indoor areas, doubling the amount of indoor testing space.

The length of the wet and dry braking facility will allow Test World to test brakes on passenger cars at higher speeds than possible in the existing space. The adjustable temperature and humidity will provide the company with greater environmental and climatic control, for improved repeatability. New garages will also be added as part of the expansion to support the increased number of tests.

“This expansion is something our customers have been asking us for and we are pleased to confirm such ambitious plans for extending our current facilities,” says Janne Seurujärvi, managing director, Test World. “The new capabilities will allow us to provide a fuller service to our current and prospective customers, ultimately saving them time and money by providing more services on a single site.”

Elsewhere on the show floor, global test and quality solutions provider, Averna, is discussing its strategic partnership with MaxEye Technologies, which will see Averna distributing MaxEye’s digital video and audio signal generation toolkits.

The partnership will allow Averna to add full digital video and audio testing capability to its Averna Signal Tester (AST-1000) RF Signal Source platform, in addition to its existing RF toolkits such as AM/FM, HD radio and Sirius XM as well as full GNSS simulation.

The AST-1000 is an all-in-one RF test solution designed to cover all common radio, navigation, video and connectivity protocols for infotainment system manufacturers. Based on the NI VST, the software-defined AST-1000 now supports MaxEye’s DRM, ISDB-T, ATSC, DVB-T, CMMB and DTMB digital video and audio toolkits.

“We’re extremely happy to partner with MaxEye Technologies to add their digital video and audio testing capability to our AST-1000, an advanced solution for both the design validation and manufacturing of infotainment systems,” says Jean-Lévy Beaudoin, vice president, platforms and innovation, R&D, for Averna. “The response from our customer base and the industry has been very positive and we look forward to adding even more capabilities to our future-proofed infotainment platform.”

More news announced on the first day of the show came from Optis World, which is debuting a new virtual driving tool for testing and validation of HMI concepts. Günther Hasna, strategic project director, says, “In future, vehicles will need to adapt to new traffic situations and there will also be a higher density of vehicles on the road. And in the near future, highly automated driving is set to become a reality. So, to tackle these complex scenarios, a human-machine interface is required on board vehicles.”

Optis World’s virtual test system reduces time to market and enables development without costly prototyping. It is also possible to test dangerous driving scenarios in the environment – removing the need to conduct real-life testing, which puts drivers at great risk.

Meanwhile, IAG is debuting its versa06 FTIR analysis system, a new exhaust gas analysis test cell, which the company claims is the smallest of its kind worldwide.

“One of our requests to our supplier, MKS, was to reduce the volume of the gas cell because we had already done this as much as we possibly could,” says Gert Kain, division manager, IAG. “The size of the gas cell has been reduced from 200cc to only 70cc, which achieves a greater measurement reaction speed and improves the precision of measurement.”

The 70cc cell allows for the automatic refilling of liquid nitrogen so that the system can run for long periods of time without the need for operator intervention. In case of a power outage, the versa06 is flushed automatically to avoid unnecessary maintenance costs.

“We are the first to launch a test system of this size on the market,” adds Kain. “We've been running a prototype with customers for six months and have seen very positive results so far.”

On the Rohde & Schwarz stand, a range of test solutions designed for the development of automotive radar sensors used in driver assistance systems has been launched.

A particular highlight is the new R&S ATS1000 antenna test system for antennas up to the highest millimetre wave range. The system is being displayed as a test solution for automated antenna pattern and power measurements on radar sensors, providing precise 3D far-field characterisation thanks to the R&S QuickStep test automation software. Housed in a portable shielded box, the tool is ideal for tasks in the lab and in production environments.

“Usually the antenna chambers are extremely large and contain a so-called corner reflector, which measures on a two-way antenna pattern,” says Steffen Heuel, technology manager at Rohde & Schwarz. “We have used a one-way antenna pattern, which has enabled us to reduce the footprint size of the chamber and means we can also include a radar echo generator that can simulate 5 metres in length. This setup works for any automotive radar, including newer-generation 77GHz radars. The unit is much more integrated and saves space.”

Day 2 of Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2017 opens at 10:00hrs (CET) and will close at 18:30hrs (CET). A free-to-attend drinks party runs from 17:00hrs to 18:30hrs.

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