We are pleased to share that DRI has been awarded five National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) vehicle safety research contracts. The aim is to advance the safe deployment of ADAS and automated driving technologies.

The contracts will enable us to establish and validate new test procedures to better assess the safety performance of vehicles equipped with these systems. The test protocols will be based on real-world crash data analysis and market research to understand the operational performance capabilities, limitations, and reliability of existing ADAS technologies.

We will also collaborate with the industry and standards-setting organizations to explore methods and tools for conducting this testing more efficiently and effectively, to lessen the burden on manufacturers and test houses.

Nadine Wong, our Director of Track Testing, said: “The ultimate goal of these research projects is to improve road safety by increasing the effectiveness of ADAS testing. By basing new test protocols on real-world crash data, it helps to ensure that ADAS technologies are being thoroughly challenged in ways that will directly translate into safer roads. With our unique perspective of conducting ADAS tests daily for OEMs and NHTSA at our California proving ground, as well as the research expertise we have in-house, we are well-equipped to develop and trial future test protocols.”

The projects will focus on five specific areas:

  • Light vehicle Blind Spot Intervention (BSI) and Lane Change Assist (LCA): This project will create and test a new test matrix to evaluate and improve BSI and LCA technologies. The new protocols, based on real-world crash data analysis, aim to avoid, or minimize the impact of the most frequent crashes in lane-change or merging vehicle scenarios.
  • Vulnerable Road User (VRU) Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) research and variation analysis: The first part of this project will examine PAEB technologies with a focus on intersection scenarios for both pedestrians and other VRUs. The second part will be an analysis of performance sensitivity to variations in the test, such as lighting, weather, pedestrian gait or obstructions. This will provide a better understanding of the systems’ performance in real-world scenarios.
  • Alternative Test Termination Methods: This project aims to understand methods for effectively and safely testing the variety of challenging scenarios that may be encountered for various ADAS testing, such as high-speed test runs or large, complex test matrices. DRI will explore ways to step through a large test matrix ensuring comprehensive testing while minimizing the test burden that would result from the large variety of test scenarios included. It will also evaluate alternative methods that prevent test collisions if the ADAS system fails to intervene timely or reduce the severity of damage should a collision be unavoidable. A failed ADAS test can result in substantial damage to the test vehicle or the test equipment, resulting in increased costs and significant delays. Methods of mitigation may be predictive programming to abort a collision should the test fail or the use of ultra-lightweight ADAS targets.
  • Heavy Vehicle PAEB and BSI: The final two projects focus on the research and development of testing for medium and heavy-duty vehicle’s ADAS capabilities, which include PAEB and blind spot warning and intervention systems. The aim is to develop and trial a suite of new test protocols, based on crash data and market research, to thoroughly challenge these technologies. The two contracts will cover interactions with passenger vehicles as well as VRUs, such as pedestrians, bicyclists, and motorcyclists.

We provide testing services at our privately owned test facility near Bakersfield, California. The facility has been purpose-built for the development and validation of ADAS technologies. 

“At DRI, we have conducted ADAS testing across a whole range of sensor technologies, vehicle types and regulations,” continues Wong. “We understand what challenges ADAS systems, and the workload implications test matrices have on vehicle manufacturers and test houses. Leveraging this experience of both formulating and implementing test protocols, we can provide comprehensive and uniquely insightful evaluations of ADAS technologies.”

For more information about our testing services, please contact us at info@dynres.com.

DRI’s Soft Pedestrian 360 has received official approval for use in Euro NCAP testing. A next-generation ADAS target, it can now be used to conduct all of Euro NCAP’s pedestrian adult-based test scenarios.

The Soft Pedestrian 360 underwent rigorous assessment to ensure compliance with the specific requirements established by Euro NCAP. Working closely with DRI, sister company AB Dynamics provided verification data and extensive comparative test data in collaboration with a reputable Euro NCAP lab to ensure it was reliable, accurate and effective for ADAS testing.

The pedestrian ADAS target features sophisticated articulation of the knee, hip, shoulder and neck to enhance realism. The knees are actively articulated, enabling the hip and knee to move independently of each other, which controls the gait and allows a greater and more varied range of movement than a passive system can reproduce. The gait can be automatically synchronized with the target’s position, speed and acceleration relative to a starting point, through the platform’s IMU (Inertial Measurement Unit). 

To reduce the possibility of damage to the test vehicle, the external hardpoints of the Soft Pedestrian 360 have been minimized and it utilizes a modular architecture, which reduces the mass of individual components that could contact the vehicle. The servos operating the limbs and the head of the pedestrian are also completely encased in foam and sit within each component. This means that the vehicle under test is protected when the limbs are disconnected upon impact.  

The target also features a novel slipper clutch that stops the servos from being back-driven during a collision which improves durability. The target is also covered in a hard-wearing fabric clothing that prevents the foam core from being worn away or torn apart, maintaining a consistent shape throughout testing. As with other components, the clothing can be cost-effectively replaced should it become damaged. 

The Soft Pedestrian 360 is the latest addition to DRI’s portfolio of Euro NCAP-approved test equipment, joining the Soft Car 360 and the Soft Motorcycle 360. 

We are pleased to announce our new testing capabilities for Adaptive Driving Beam (ADB) headlights, with recent legislation changes now permitting their use in the US.  

study by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) revealed a 56% increase in pedestrian deaths after dark between 2009 to 2016. The study suggested better headlights as a potential solution to this problem. ADB allows a vehicle’s high beams to be used continuously while automatically adjusting the direction and intensity of the light beam to prevent glare for surrounding traffic. This technology not only improves visibility for the driver but also better illuminates Vulnerable Road Users (VRU), such as pedestrians.

With the revision of the FMVSS 108 headlight standard by NHTSA, vehicles in the US can now use with ADB technology. This change has been accompanied by a new test procedure to evaluate the performance of these headlights. “OEMs that have invested in ADB technology will be keen to exploit it in the US market and we have already seen a significant increase in demand for ADB testing in the region,” said Nadine Wong, Director of Track Testing.

To meet this demand, we have developed new testing capabilities, including an in-house designed lighting and sensor rig, to conduct the dynamic test procedure at our California proving ground. The vehicle under test is precisely driven through a series of turn radii and speeds using AB Dynamics driving robots while the lighting rig mimics surrounding vehicle headlights and taillights. The rig is also equipped with luminance sensors positioned to represent where the driver would be, with the resulting lux measurements showing how effectively the ADB technology is adjusting its beam to reduce glare. We have also developed a post-processor software to evaluate if the vehicle successfully passes the test, providing an end-to-end test solution.

Our California test facility is sufficiently large to accommodate the various driving paths dictated by this latest standard. Our track also features high-quality surface grade pavement, which is essential for ADB testing as it minimizes the variation in vehicle pitch caused by bumps, improving the consistency of results. We offer comprehensive testing and validation services for adaptive headlight systems and have already successfully completed the latest test protocols for European and Japanese OEMs.

As we continue to innovate and expand our services, we invite all interested OEMs and Tier 1 suppliers to reach out to us for more information or to schedule a test. Together, we can contribute to safer roads for everyone.

We are proud to announce the opening of a new kinematics and compliance (K&C) test facility at our California proving ground. At the center of the operation is the SPMM test machine from our sister company, AB Dynamics.

The K&C facility has been purpose-built for the testing and development of vehicles and will be used by OEMs, suppliers and motorsport teams to accurately measure and evaluate vehicle suspension systems. It is the only independent site in North America to provide the full suite of K&C tests as well as Center of Gravity (CG) and Moment of Inertia (MoI) measurements.

“Using the AB Dynamics SPMM as a basis, we plan to expand our capabilities to become a virtual one-stop-shop for vehicle dynamics measurement and testing,” said Joe Kelly, Chief Engineer. “Coupled with our existing vehicle dynamics area and full-scale test capabilities and instrumentation, the SPMM will enable us to serve our clients with unmatched flexibility and depth of experience across a wide range of vehicle dynamics related topics. Emerging vehicle manufacturers can now have access to the kinds of equipment that were only previously the domain of legacy manufacturers.”

We offers a full suite of K&C services, including industry standard tests such as bounce, bounce-pitch, roll, longitudinal compliance, lateral compliance, aligning torque and steering. The company will also develop bespoke tests to meet customers’ specific research and development requirements.

The SPMM utilizes a novel moving center table design that manipulates a vehicle's body to generate the necessary movement and force to the suspension. This design means the ground plane (road) remains fixed when simulating vehicle cornering and braking to more accurately replicate on-road vehicle behavior.

The benefit of this architecture is the measurement equipment connected to the vehicle’s wheels remains relatively static. Compared to traditional K&C systems, the travel being measured is an order of magnitude less and the loads being received to the cells are direct, resulting in a highly accurate measurement solution.

The table is precisely controlled in six degrees of freedom by precision electromechanical actuators, which enable a combination of roll, pitch, bounce and yaw motion to be applied to the vehicle body. As a closed-loop system, it requires no iteration to reach the desired drive commands, which significantly reduces testing time.

The SPMM is the only test machine to lift, roll and tilt the vehicle enabling the full MoI and CG properties of the vehicle to be derived. Alongside the standard suite of K&C tests, this provides all of the chassis-based data required to create highly accurate digital vehicle models. The measurement data can be directly exported into CarSim, CarMaker and MathWorks.

Further developments are planned including the addition of a highly accurate 3D Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM). It calculates the exact coordinates of the pivot points as well as the locations of key components, such as inboard bushings and damper mountings. This data is important to assess manufacturing tolerances on pre-production vehicles.

The facility will also offer high-resolution video synchronized with the test program. This will make it quick and easy to playback and review any anomalies in the data to better understand their source.

DRI’s Soft Motorcycle 360 has received official approval for use in Euro NCAP testing.

A next-generation Powered Two-Wheeler (PTW) test target, the Soft Motorcycle 360 is a powerful solution to improve motorcycle safety. It features a cutting-edge design with multi-layered construction and unique rotating wheels that simulate a realistic Doppler effect for radar sensors.

This ensures precise recognition by vehicle sensor systems like cameras and LiDAR. Its modular, lightweight, abrasion-resistant rubberized material allows for quick assembly and reconstruction post-impact, reducing downtime and minimizing potential vehicle damage.

The Soft Motorcycle 360 has been accredited for use alongside AB Dynamics’ LaunchPad 80 target platform. Together, they can be utilized to conduct all Euro NCAP motorcycle based ADAS test scenarios, including:

  • Car to Motorcycle Rear Stationary (CMRs)
  • Car to Motorcycle Rear braking (CMRb)
  • Car to Motorcycle Front turn across path (CMFtap)
  • Car to Motorcycle oncoming (CMoncoming)
  • Car to Motorcycle overtaking (CMovertaking)

The LaunchPad 80, an approved PTW target platform since 2022, can safely conduct tests at speeds exceeding 80 km/h and braking at over 0.6g, surpassing Euro NCAP’s requirements. With exceptional stability and maneuverability, it facilitates ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing in complex scenarios involving motorcyclists and moped targets.

For more information, contact us at info@dynres.com.

This year, as in previous years, DRI welcomed a California State University Long Beach student as a Human Factors intern. This year, that intern is Ryan Fandetti who is pursuing his Master’s in Human Factors Psychology and finishing up his final thesis this Spring.

Each year DRI partners with the head of the CSU Human Factors faculty, Dr. Thomas Strybel, to identify students in the program to take on as interns. The program gives the student interns an opportunity to work on many aspects of Human Factors projects for our automotive clients.

Ryan grew up in Tampa, Florida and now calls Long Beach, California home. After completing his bachelor’s in psychology at UCF, Orlando, he found he had an interest in Human Factors and its practical application in engineering.

During his time at DRI, Ryan has been able to participate in several current studies for our automotive clients. He has been a part of study design, participant acquisition and recruitment, active study data collection, including in our simulator environment, and reporting. “I’m taking this great opportunity to gain as much experience as I can,” Ryan commented, “It’s invaluable to participate in the full process of user experience studies like these.”

“Dr. Strybel and the CSU Long Beach Masters of Human Factors program have been great to partner with. We feel strongly about investing in upcoming generations who will help shape the policies in our industry, and others, in the discipline of human factors,” states Ana Bakker, DRI Human Factors Research Manager. “In our experience the CSULB interns bring knowledge that helps move our projects forward and take away experience and a broader understanding of real-world applications in their chosen discipline.”

DRI partnered with Westat of Rockville, MD to undertake the NHTSA “Human factors considerations for vehicle fail-safe strategies” project, a 20-month study.

Vehicle system failures could result in a significant risk for traffic safety. If a driver experiences a sudden failure while driving in traffic, there is a need for the driver to respond quickly and, depending on the circumstances and the nature of the failure, potentially get the vehicle to a safe stopping position.

One of NHTSA’s primary objectives of this study is to understand the driver’s response to a sudden failure. While focus groups and questionnaires will provide some insight into the driver response to a given failure, this study proposes to include an evaluation of drivers using the DRI fixed base simulator. The simulator will deploy scenarios simulating one or more of these vehicle system failures with driver subjects in a repeatable, controlled environment to safely perform what would otherwise be a significantly dangerous driving scenario.

As a partner to Westat in this project award, we off human factors and driving simulator expertise and know-how, as well as a large database of simulator scenarios, roadways, and potential subject drivers. Our facilities and equipment along with its OEM relationships and NHTSA project experience, are an excellent complement to Westat’s capabilities.

DRI has done extensive testing, research, and vehicle R&D-related studies of driver behavior for more than 25 years. These studies have included driver behavior and driver/vehicle interaction studies in distracted driving, impaired driving, driving with vehicle automation (ADS) and advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), driving in-vehicle system failure situations, and under typical driving circumstances. This has been accompanied by and built upon a long history of driver-vehicle interaction research by our senior human factors staff members.

We have expanded our Bakersfield California proving ground test track to add space for additional testing types and space for simultaneous testing.

The expansion has increased the testing area by over two acres, facilitating the execution of US NCAP and Euro NCAP intersection scenarios, including:

  • Intersection Safety Assist (ISA)
  • Car to Car Turn Across Path (CCFTAP scenarios)
  • Car to Pedestrian Turning, Adult (CPTA scenarios)
  • Car to Bicyclist Turning, Adult (CBTA scenarios)

The additional line markings conform to Euro NCAP and US NCAP specifications for executing a wide variety of test protocols, including:

  • Lane Departure Warning (LDW)
  • Emergency Lane Keeping (ELK), including all road edge marking types
  • Blind Spot Detection (BSD)
  • Blind Spot Intervention (BSI)

In addition to the additional types of tests DRI can accomplish, the expansion allows greater flexibility in scheduling concurrent tests, since multiple testing campaigns can be accomplished simultaneously.

DRI has released an updated version of the Soft Car 360, the Euro NCAP approved global vehicle target (GVT), known as Revision G. It features improved side support for a sturdier more repeatable shape and includes radar treatment improvements.

The new Soft Car 360® is Euro NCAP approved for the new CCFtap scenario being introduced in the 2020 protocol as well as for existing scenarios, such as CCR (Car-to-Car Rear). The previous version of the Soft Car, Revision F, is still approved for the CCR scenarios.

Many customers are currently using the Soft Car 360 Revision F for development and testing. Existing customers can continue to use their Revision F targets for Euro NCAP CCR evaluations and their own internal development. However, if a customer wants to test For Euro NCAP CCFtap scenarios customers should consider purchasing a new Revision G target or a Retrofit Kit to convert their Revision F to G.

DRI has been working with sensor suppliers to ensure the characteristics of the Soft Car are representative and in line with the state of the art in terms of detection algorithms.  As sensor detection algorithms become more sophisticated it is necessary to present a more realistic representation to prevent false alarms and misclassifications.

In order to improve the characteristics from the front and side, we made several changes to the radar treatment that is integrated into the Soft Car components. This includes changes to the skin and wheel treatment.  There were also some minor shape changes to the front of the Soft Car to improve front radar return and to the side to improve the ability to hold its shape.

AB Dynamics plc has acquired DRI. AB Dynamics plc is an international group of companies specialising in simulation and testing to enable the safe development of active safety and autonomous systems. The acquisition will enable AB Dynamics to support the growing installed base of products and provide ongoing services to existing and new customers including both automotive OEMs and autonomous vehicle developers.

AB Dynamics plc CEO Dr James Routh said “DRI has an outstanding reputation in the field of ADAS testing product technology and is a business that AB Dynamics has known, worked with and respected for many years. We believe the transaction will not only increase the Group’s access in the growing US market for ADAS and autonomous vehicle testing and verification, but also complements our technical capabilities and facilities. Together we will be unrivalled in ADAS track testing products and well positioned for future growth in an evolving landscape.”