Headquarters: Wangen im Allgäu, Baden-Württemberg, Germany
NI Alliance Partner duration: 11 years
NI Alliance Partner level: Gold
Capabilities brought to the ADAS iiT: Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) testing
SET GmbH was founded 16 years ago with a focus on validation and verification (VNV) testing for the aerospace industry. After 9/11, the aviation industry began struggling, so SET shifted its focus to the automotive industry. Today, SET is one of the foremost experts in Hardware-in-the-Loop (HiL) testing for both aerospace and automotive.
“Autonomous driving requires millions of miles of test-driving, and test-drives on the road are extremely expensive,” SET Cofounder and CEO Frank Heidemann said. “So with our ADAS iiT solution, all these target simulators—the radar, lidar, camera, V2X communications —can play together in a very smooth way, virtually. Our customers can drive cars in this environment without a single mile on the road. From my perspective that’s the big, big benefit of ADAS iiT.”
The biggest challenges solved by the ADAS iiT test system
The challenge with ADAS test systems today isn’t “having an HiL” or “not having target simulators." It’s not having all these things in one test system. ADAS iiT effectively offers customers a full solution.
Another benefit of the ADAS iiT solution is a closed-loop test environment. In the past, automotive testers could record scenarios on the street and play them back to an electronic control unit (ECU) to the test software, but they were stuck in the moment. They couldn’t drive on or change the test scenario.
“So ADAS iiT took on the challenge of helping automakers solve that problem,” Heidemann said. “We developed a closed-loop vehicle testing scenario with closed-loop, synchronized modeling, enabling customers to integrate sensor fusion in an environment that allows virtual test-driving. That’s the big competitive difference of ADAS iiT. We solved that issue for customers, because a playback scenario simply isn’t enough anymore to test for autonomous driving.”
It’s a challenge to get all vehicle sensors synchronized onto one timeclock. The ADAS iiT solution’s synchronization reduces the delays of a car’s target simulators and allows them to be predicted very precisely. This gives the carmaker the ability to see not just one spot of one RF target but all the spots on a target—to see the effect of a wet street on the car for example, or the effect of snow on radar sensors.
ADAS iiT’s solution, with the help of the open NI hardware and software platform, produces these scenarios in a standardized way for customers, making automotive test systems safe and good enough for autonomous driving.
“That’s a huge step forward for automakers thanks to ADAS iiT,” Heidemann said. “That’s something we’re just not seeing on the market today, in a market when things need to move faster than ever.”
The challenges carmakers face in a race toward new technologies
So why are SET and the ADAS iiT so important for carmakers today? Digitization is changing the technology world completely. There are new players, like Uber, Google, and Tesla, in the automotive market—companies that no one thought would have a big role in carmaking. The world may lose a third of the 10 biggest auto companies worldwide because of this shift, so the automotive market right now is as competitive as ever.
“If automakers want to stay alive and thrive,” Heidemann said, “they need to keep on the fast path of digitalization. Believe in electrical driving. Believe in people not having cars for their status anymore. Believe in people living in their cars instead of driving them. I think the challenge for the biggest automakers is believing that customers are changing so fast in a digital world. They all have to change faster.”