Test system for driverless car controllers

Test system for driverless car controllers

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By Nick Flaherty

National Instruments (NI) has launched a software-defined platform that helps accelerate the development and performance of automated test and automated measurement systems for driverless car controllers.

Autonomous Vehicles (AVs) are among the most complex systems being tested today. At the heart of the AV is a powerful computing platform that analyzes the environment around the vehicle and determines the appropriate action to help ensure the safety of the car and its surroundings.

As automotive companies design and build their own driverless car controllers that combine automotive-specific networks and sensors with consumer electronic components for this computing platform, a critical balance must be struck between high computing power and adequate efficiency. Validating this balance in the computing hardware requires a flexible test platform that can continually be adapted through software. The single platform provides testing automotive networks, digital protocols, sensor interfaces and power consumption capabilities. This test platform, scalable to production, is ideal to test the custom supercomputers that will enable the deployment of AVs.

“With over 40 years working with teams automating V&V test systems, NI is a trusted advisor for helping test engineering groups maximize test effectiveness, enabling them to release quality products efficiently and confidently,” said Chad Chesney, general manager and vice president, Transportation at NI.

The modular system combines a configurable set of I/O that includes power measurements, thermal performance, automotive networks, sensor interfaces and PCB electrical measurements. The inherent flexibility in the modular design means that automotive test teams can add measurement capabilities to the test system without buying a new system or starting from scratch. The footprint of the PXI-based system is also much smaller than that of a system composed of benchtop instruments.

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