Smart Car Test Facility Sees the Big Picture

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Testing various electronics components such as memory to make sure that they can withstand the rigors of the automotive environment has long been standard operating procedure. But today’s smarter cars and emerging autonomous vehicles must be put through their paces as a complete package. In Europe, this can now be done at the AstaZero 5G test facility, a joint venture of Swedish state-owned Research Institutes of Sweden (RISE) and Chalmers University. In a telephone interview with EE Times, AstaZero CEO Peter Janevik said that it’s the most advanced testing environment for self-driving vehicles, designed to provide the data necessary to predict vehicle behavior in real-life situations without the need for on-the-road testing. AstaZero uses a unique mixed-reality test environment to simulate virtually any traffic situation in any city on the planet, he said, and can blend a virtual world full of recognizable city streets and landmarks such as the Arc de Triomphe with real vehicles and real people stationed around the track. Today, the facility can test vehicles in five key environments: a bike test area, a city area, a multi-lane road, a rural road, and a flexible high-speed area. Test vehicles can be mixed with virtual vehicles, and a realistic level of traffic complexity can be generated in the test loop, said Janevik, including scenarios in which autonomous vehicles share roads with cyclists, pedestrians, and even drones.