AVL and Stähle enable active steering on vehicle testbeds

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Test and development specialists AVL and Stähle have released the jointly developed Dynamic Steering Force Emulator, which they say allows for dynamic simulations on vehicle testbeds incorporating active steering interventions and resulting steering forces.

As part of AVL’s vehicle-in-the-loop method – and retrofittable for existing vehicle testbeds – the emulator optimizes the process of testing modern vehicles with sophisticated driver assistance systems and autonomous driving functions.

AVL notes that a technical highlight of the system is an innovative actuator concept that has a direct effect on the rack in the steering system. The joint development adds to the test and simulation possibilities of the AVL Drivingcube and, AVL states, can be easily implemented on existing chassis dynamometers and powertrain testbeds.

The emulator is claimed to be the only one of its kind in the world. The companies hope its development will open a new dimension in validation, particularly in the field of automated driving, in which active steering interventions are an essential component. The system makes it possible to test driver assistance systems (ADAS) and automated driving systems (ADS) like the automated lane-keeping system (ALKS) and enhanced highway driver functions.

Within the vehicle-in-the-loop test system, AVL says the dynamic steering force emulator forms a bridge between the real and the virtual worlds. The company notes that a specially developed linear actuator plays a key role here. This drive unit converts electrical signals from the driving dynamics simulation into physical forces, which then have a direct effect on the rack on the steering system. One of the key advantages of this is that it can easily be configured without any structural changes. The emulator is compatible with AVL’s full-vehicle testbeds (powertrain testbeds and chassis dynamometers) and, as such, is an important addition to the range of applications.

“Steering on vehicle testbeds is a hotly debated subject among experts – particularly in the context of automated driving. The Dynamic Steering Force Emulator is a real milestone in this area, especially as the system can easily be added to existing vehicle testbeds. We are pleased to have an experienced and reliable partner on our side in Stähle, to ensure that innovative solutions like these are ready for the market,” said Tobias Düser, head of ADAS/AD virtual testing solutions at AVL.

Klaus Stähle, MD of Stähle, added, “Up until now, steering systems have primarily used an actuator on the steering wheel in trials at proving grounds and on flat-band testbeds. This no longer meets all the demands of testing on automated vehicles. However, we are pleased with the development of the Dynamic Steering Force Emulator. Its actuator concept is based on our core technology. It makes it possible to accurately test different assistance systems on the testbed – automated, reproducible and 24/7 if required. This not only simplifies the process of development and homologation but also makes an important contribution on the road to highly automated and safe vehicles.”

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Lawrence has been covering engineering subjects – with a focus on motorsport technology – since 2007 and has edited and contributed to a variety of international titles. Currently, he oversees Automotive Powertrain Technology International and Professional Motorsport World magazines as editor.

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