Some years ago it may have seemed like science fiction, but there’s no doubting its reality now: Driverless cars are on the way. They are already playing a central role in the automotive industry’s planning decisions. Dürr, too, is intensively addressing this megatrend. Its Dürr Assembly Products subsidiary has now unveiled two pioneering innovations in the field of vehicle testing technology: The modular x-road curve and x-around test stands will rigorously test autonomous and semiautonomous vehicles before they take to the road, ensuring maximum safety. These innovations, which can also be used for conventional vehicles, will give manufacturers the capability now to handle the testing tasks of the future.
Autonomous or semiautonomous vehicles have to cope with traffic scenarios such as overtaking or the need for evasive action with absolute reliability. That involves the vehicle working as a total system. This undergoes end-of-line testing in just the same way as individual components (including sensors). Dürr Assembly Products has developed a new generation of test stands to meet the expanded requirements.
“Our test stands have a modular design and can therefore also be upgraded in response to future tasks. Thanks to these technologies, our customers are equipped to face the challenges of the future,” declares Roland Spieß, CEO of Dürr Assembly Products.
x-around is a flexible multi-sensor calibration test stand for setting a growing number of calibrating cameras and radar, LiDAR and other sensors. Instead of printed calibration samples, x-around uses projectors and monitors. These display static and dynamic calibration samples and are automatically positioned around the vehicle, taking account of the particular model. A lightproof booth enclosing the entire test stand ensures constant, reproducible conditions.
x-around, the flexible multi-sensor calibration test stand
The multi-function x-road curve test stand performs classic tasks such as testing brakes, transmissions and ABS systems. Driverless tests are possible for the first time with it because x-road curve offers a particular feature: two tiltable roll units for the front wheels. Conventional roll test stands have fixed roll axes. With these, therefore, a driver needs to steer the car straight ahead to keep it positioned in the center of the test stand. Any steering actions beyond that result inevitably in uncontrolled lateral drifting of the vehicle.
x-road curve, on the other hand, has a steering function that enables driverless testing. The front axle of a classic roll test stand was modified to enable that. Using laser measurement technology, the steering angle is now determined and adjusted by means of tiltable roll units. As a result, the vehicle remains centrally positioned on the performance test stand even at high speeds.
In the next phase, x-road curve can be connected to a virtual-reality environment. In this, the vehicle is subjected to typical traffic scenarios requiring steering movements. This enables the manufacturer to dynamically test whether the car and its component systems detect, for instance, an obstacle or a vehicle in front and brake or take evasive action in timely fashion. Dürr is collaborating with companies such as AVL List for these simulations.
x-road curve can be retrofitted in all test stands of the predecessor model x-road.
x-road curve, the innovative, dynamic multi-function test stand
The Dürr Group is one of the world’s leading mechanical and plant engineering firms with outstanding expertise in automation and digitization/Industry 4.0. Products, systems and services offered by the Group enable highly efficient manufacturing processes in different industries. Dürr supplies not only the automotive industry but also other sectors such as the mechanical engineering, chemical and pharmaceutical industries, and the woodworking industry. Dürr has 92 business locations in 31 countries. In 2017 the Group generated sales revenues of € 3.71 billion. The Group has around 15,000 employees and operates in the market via five divisions:
- Paint and Final Assembly Systems: Paintshops and final assembly systems for the automotive industry
- Application Technology: Robot technology for the automated application of paint, sealants and adhesives
- Clean Technology Systems: Exhaust-air purification systems and energy efficiency technology
- Measuring and Process Systems: Balancing as well as assembly, testing and filling technology
- Woodworking Machinery and Systems: Machinery and equipment for the woodworking industry