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GeneSys Sensors Help Auto Makers Test Performance and Prepare for the Connected Vehicle Future

GeneSys
"The Digi WR21 is a great product, and it interfaces very easily to the custom software we’ve developed."

Dominic Huber, Application Engineer – GeneSys

GeneSys Elektronik GmbH in Germany designs and creates sensor systems for a variety of applications, from automotive dynamics analysis to guidance of tunnelling machines, and image processing for process automation. Using the Digi WR21 cellular router, the GeneSys Automotive Dynamic Motion Analyzer (ADMA) provides highly precise vehicle data to improve safety and open the path to autonomous vehicles and the future of connected vehicle technology.

Right on Track

This is not your father’s Buick. From forward-collision warnings and automatic emergency braking to pedestrian detection, adaptive lighting, and lane-departure warning systems, today’s cars and trucks contain more sophisticated sensors and electronics than ever before. While those in-vehicle sensors improve the driving experience and increase passenger safety, there’s an entirely different breed that consumers never see – the test sensors that engineers affix to vehicles during the testing cycle. These sensors are called reference sensors.

During the vehicle R&D process, engineers want to exercise their prototype vehicles on private test tracks and measure everything from acceleration, speed, position, pitch, roll, heading angle, braking/deceleration times and distances, to road-holding and more. The results of these tests enable engineers to verify that the safety and performance of their vehicles meet regulatory standards. These include NHTSA for the U.S. and EuroNCAP for Europe. These extensive tests also help engineers improve the accuracy and performance of the in-vehicle systems. Given the stakes of these analyses, car makers require unprecedented levels of precision from their test data.

According to Dominic Huber, application engineer for GeneSys, its Automotive Dynamic Motion Analyzer (ADMA) delivers that data using special inertial sensors and GPS information. “We’re able to take all of that sensor information to calculate acceleration, speed and position of moving vehicles in all three dimensional axes within +-1 cm accuracy,” he said. “This is what auto makers – our customers – require. For instance, if they want their in-vehicle sensors to measure the distance between two vehicles and verify, they’ll need highly precise readings and calculations.”

Connectivity Brings Higher Level of Precision

That precision is achieved by DGNSS correction data received from a correction data service – a connection made possible by the ADMA’s use of the Digi WR21 cellular router. This sophisticated device can provide primary or backup WWAN connectivity over 3G/4G/LTE with software-selectable multicarrier and regional LTE variants. Flexible power and connectivity options, along with extended temperature ranges, make Digi WR21 a versatile product for both commercial and industrial environments. Digi Remote Manager® adds easy setup, configuration and maintenance of the Digi cellular devices.

The 110x179 mm unit is housed inside the test vehicle, receives the correction data during each mile of operation on the test track via Internet protocol (NTRIP) from HxGN SmartNet from Hexagon Geosystems. This integrated 24/7 GNSS Network RTK and DGNSS correction service uses the world’s largest reference network, enabling GNSS-capable devices to quickly determine precise positions. With more than 4,000 reference stations based on Leica Geosystems technology that ensure position accuracy in any application, HxGN SmartNet is easy-to-use and provides the fastest precise positions – a critical feature in the development of connected vehicle and autonomous vehicle technology.

“The Digi WR21 is a great product,” said Huber, “and it interfaces very easily with the custom software we’ve developed. We use it to connect to the Hexagon data service in real-time, right at the test track. We don’t have to do any post-processing of the data, so we save a lot of time.”

Moving Forward to the Future

As automakers bring their next generation of vehicles from the drawing board to the test track to the dealer showroom, in-vehicle sensors will continue to play a larger role. Speaking of the advances to support driverless cars and connected vehicle technology for smart cities, Huber said, “Automakers will need increasingly precise sensor systems as they strive to build safe autonomous vehicles, which will be held to a very strict standard. So the ability to connect to correction data service remains key to ensuring the vehicle is working properly and meets quality standards.”