At Cruden, we view the driving simulator as a flexible and accessible gateway; a tool that allows our customers to connect human beings with new and adapted vehicle systems and designs. In these times of extensive ADAS and AV development, we spend as much time discussing our engineering tool interfaces and integration expertise, as we do the features of the physical simulator unit.
Automotive companies, research institutes and universities purchasing a Cruden simulator can have confidence that our open-architecture ePhyse software will integrate seamlessly with their organisation’s own preferred (where existing) vehicle models, traffic simulation and sensor simulation, as well as with hardware test rigs.
When it comes to the choice of automotive simulation tool, we believe they should not be chosen in isolation. The maximum value for the customer comes from selecting tools with an open architecture in mind, so that the best tool for the job can be chosen in every case. We can integrate multiple tools and pride ourselves on taking away concerns from engineers, both on the customer side and the tool-providers side.
We have experience with many different engineering tools, and because of that we often consult customers who do not have a strong preference, which ones would be best to integrate with their Cruden DIL simulator. An example of a tool we wholeheartedly recommend is VIRES VTD (Virtual Test Drive), the world’s most widely used open platform for creating virtual environments for ADAS and AV testing, with whom Cruden has extensive integration experience. Audi and Volkswagen are among the OEMs who benefit from the integration of a Cruden driving simulator with VTD traffic simulation. A customer can purchase their VIRES license, ship it to Cruden and we will take care of the integration.
That integration is simplified by the OpenDRIVE standard for road definition, originally developed by a group of companies where VIRES was a key partner, before becoming overseen as an industry standard by ASAM, the Association for Standardization of Automation & Measuring Systems. VIRES VTD was the traffic simulation tool for which Cruden first generated OpenDRIVE layers from its own, highly detailed 3D environments; now the two companies’ closer collaboration includes the adoption of VIRES VTD to provide traffic for Cruden’s demonstration simulator at its base in Amsterdam.
Adams Real Time is a further new addition to Cruden’s demonstrator. Another product of VIRES’ parent company, Hexagon, Adams Real Time enables automotive customers who use Adams for multibody dynamics simulation to rapidly convert their models to run in real time in a driving simulator. It replaces time-consuming and cumbersome model conversions and correlations, so has been embraced by Cruden and its customers as another valuable integration with a third-party engineering tool.
The demonstrator embodies the importance of collaboration between companies who develop engineering tools and the benefits of together providing access to open standards. Cruden’s simulators have their own strengths but provide their greatest value to users when integrated with other specialist simulation software and hardware. VIRES VTD is one example: a highly respected tool for developing sensors and ADAS controllers, whose open architecture also makes it easy to integrate with a driving simulator. There, the technically proven sensor or controller can be evaluated with a human driver in the loop to ensure that the technology is perceived as comforting, desirable and safe.
“With a driving simulator you can do these types of experiments at a much earlier stage of development,” says Dennis Marcus, Cruden’s commercial manager. “The Cruden simulator uses VIRES VTD for traffic simulation because we think it’s currently the best and easiest tool with which to visualise the most realistic traffic. The fact that VIRES put so much effort into building the OpenDRIVE standard to facilitate the industry, is very much in line with our whole philosophy with regard to building driving simulators. But our simulators work with any engineering tool. Engineers should choose the tools that are best for their research and the driving simulator should be ready to connect to them.”
“We take a similar approach,” agrees David Mear, VIRES’ business development manager for EMEA. “We want to be agnostic and as open as possible in terms of integration with other simulation tools. When we talk to customers who are working on data for autonomous driving, for example, there are different steps involved, such as software-in-the-loop, hardware-in-the-loop or, as with Cruden, driver-in-the-loop. You can integrate VTD into a driving simulator, but you can also use it to test the same device or functionality on a hardware-in-the-loop test bench, without too much effort. You can replicate it thanks to these open interfaces and should always get the same result.”