The ZalaZONE Proving Ground is a facility for testing of classic vehicle functions and it also offers opportunities for validation of automated and autonomous vehicles. The field of autonomous mobility is still under intensive research, there are several forecasts on the potential implementation schedule of these technologies into the commercial usage. Nevertheless, automated devices assisting the driver’s functions are an intermediate development phase between the traditional vehicles and the driverless mobility. These devices (called ADAS = Automated Driver Assistance Systems) are currently widely available in most of the vehicles, even at low-category cars as some of them are obligatory by law.
Testing of the ADAS functions is really an emerging market, as many of the classic proving grounds are not optimally suitable for this purpose. The classic vehicle dynamic tests are usually higher speed tests but mostly performed at special dynamical situations. Testing of ADAS products is mainly function-oriented, very often requiring high number of repeatability and probation at various speed ranges. This kind of testing strongly differs from the classic test approach, and at some functions, even specific modules are necessary to provide the feasible testing environment.
ADAS tests are used for checking and validation of systems like emergency braking, lane keeping, adaptive cruise control, traffic assist, parking assist, etc. The NCAP (=New Car Assessment Programme, in Europe called EuroNCAP) is mostly known by its crash-test to classify safety level of the vehicles, but it also defined various directives for testing of certain ADAS type functions. These NCAP protocols are accepted by several industrial companies as basis requirement for validation of ADAS devices. The NCAP tests are based on detailed testing procedures to ensure a kind of „standard” and repeatable processes. These tests require usage of defined equipment package, defined by NCAP, including various dummies and subjects for the different traffic situations.
One of the specific testing objects is the „Moving Platform” that is used for example for emergency braking tests. The role of the platform is to take the standard testing object (e.g. a car-shape balloon), while ensuring the safe drive-through. This is necessary for safe testing, because many of the tested solutions are not working properly as they are still in the development phase.
The standard Moving Platform is an object with defined geometry, dimensions, functionality, speed range. Although this standard platform is available in the service package of ZalaZONE Proving Ground, several tests do not require the fully standard equipment. On the other hand, some situations (like testing of autonomous vehicles) require functions (e.g. trajectory-control) which are not typical for the NCAP tests. Therefore, the ZalaZONE research group of Budapest University of Technology & Economics, decided to launch a development project to work-out an R&D-purpose Moving Platform, based on the standard platform requirements, but establishing the development of new functions in the future.
The Moving Platform is currently in the phase of building the prototype. Some elements are already available and off-line tested.