By Bruce Jenkins, President, Ora Research
New tools for development of Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) and autonomous (self-driving) vehicles are highlights of Pro-SiVIC 2016, ESI Group’s latest release of the sensor simulation platform it acquired last year along with the software’s developer, CIVITEC.
Targeted primarily at transportation industries, ESI Pro-SiVIC lets engineering organizations virtually test the operational performance of the various perception systems on board a ground vehicle or aircraft design. By helping engineers build realistic, real-life 3D scenarios and experience them interactively in real time, Pro-SiVIC is intended to reduce or eliminate the need for physical prototypes. The software models environmental factors that influence sensor performance such as lighting conditions, weather, and other vehicles sharing the road. The goal is to let users quickly and precisely study the performance of embedded systems in both typical and critical use cases, to ensure the product will be safe and reliable in operation.
Accelerating design and prototyping of embedded control and security systems
Pro-SiVIC is the result of ten years’ research and development by the French Institute of Science, Transport Technology and Network (IFSTTAR). CIVITEC is an IFSTTAR spinoff formed in 2009 to productize this R&D, together with IFSTTAR’s know-how in perception sensor simulation and algorithmic development.
Upon acquiring CIVITEC in March 2015, ESI Group chairman and CEO Alain de Rouvray said, “This new expertise of assistance to human perception, coupled with the excellent IFSTTAR partnership, provides opportunity to take into account the interactions of a vehicle, or any other industrial product, with its scalable immersive environment. Once integrated into digital 3D modeling, it will enable dramatically accelerated design and prototyping of embedded control and security systems and thereby strengthen the value of our global solutions in virtual prototyping.”
de Rouvray continued, “For ESI Group’s industrial partners, Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) present a major technological challenge, as efficiency must be built upon the quality of interaction between digital modeling and human perception. The growing requirements in terms of active safety make it important and urgent to integrate ADAS systems in virtual prototyping, complementing the existing constraints of passive safety during product development.”
Integrating sensor models based on cameras, radar, LIDAR, ultrasonic sensors, GPS, more
Pro-SiVIC helps engineering and manufacturing organizations develop perception assistance systems from the design phase to final testing. “Implementation of such modules is highly complex, as it requires 3D modeling of ultra-realistic environment conditions, digitally transcribed using sensor simulation, and wrapped in an optimized interface that improves operators’ perception,” ESI notes. “The man-to-machine interface must provide the operator, such as a vehicle driver, with the best information available to enable him or her to make better decisions.” ESI observes that perception assistance systems are critical to the deployment of active safety systems, today considered crucial in the automotive and aircraft industries.
The latest release, version 2016, addresses sensor specialists, ADAS designers, and ADAS integration and validation teams. To support their daily work, Pro-SiVIC integrates sensor models based on a wide range of technologies including cameras, radar, LIDAR (laser scanners), ultrasonic sensors, GPS, odometers and communications devices. This makes the solution suitable for applications in industries that use sensing for systems command and control including automotive, aeronautics and marine. Sensors can be integrated into realistic 3D scenes; for automakers, for example, Pro-SiVIC provides environment catalogs containing representations of various road types (urban, highway, countryside), traffic signs and lane markings.
Pro-SiVIC 2016 introduces new radar sensor models that not only cover the functional aspect of the sensors but also provide detailed modeling of antenna characteristics and their impact on performance and on-board processing, plus the characteristics of radar targets such as radar cross-sections. These options result from the ability to couple Pro-SiVIC with ESI’s computational electromagnetics solution, CEM One.
ESI reports that Business France and BPI France, two leading organizations that promote international development of the French economy and foreign investment, have chosen Pro-SiVIC as one of eight French technologies for their program “Ubimobility—Connected Cars France,” aimed at helping French companies compete in the North American autonomous vehicle market.