VW Completes First V2V ‘Swarm Test’

Volkswagen Group has successfully tested it V2V and V2X communications suites using a mixture of its branded vehicles.

The tests on an off-road circuit at the Nardò Technical Center in Italy saw VW, Audi and Porsche cars perform a series of complicated maneuvers using test equipment provided by the UK supplier AB Dynamics. The movements of seven automated vehicles were synchronized in tests captured in a video prepared by the automaker.

A total of 152 tests were carried out over 11 days, including high speed runs up to 80mph and ‘cutting in’ maneuvers with vehicles as close as three feet. AB Dynamics deployed a communications system using dual-band IP radio, providing data transfer from V2V and V2X through secure mesh networks. This avoided the interference and signal loss that can occur with standard WLAN technology when used with multiple vehicles.

The communication platform enabled the use of the company’s Synchro control system to synchronize the movements of the test vehicles. The movements of as many as seven automated vehicles were synchronized successfully and repeatedly with a central test vehicle on a single trigger broadcast.

In addition to the mobile control center, the vehicles involved included four under robot control, two under drive-by-wire control, one AB Dynamics global soft target (GST) plus the central test vehicle. All the equipment used was fully portable, meaning the tests can be carried out at any suitable location.

Leo Evans, senior engineer at AB Dynamics, said: “These tests were much more complex than a Euro NCAP scenario which typically involves one target vehicle plus a guided soft target. In the real world, interactions often involve multiple vehicles but running several automated vehicles in close proximity has challenged the industry until now, meaning human drivers were often used instead. Unfortunately, human drivers, however highly skilled, cannot always produce the repeatability needed to thoroughly investigate system behavior, so electronic control is necessary to eliminate variation between tests.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in London. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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