Users Report / Vol.126
Automotive Research & Testing Center (Taiwan)

Riding comfort of autonomous driving is reproduced with a reality. This simulator is leading the automobile technology in Taiwan.

ARTC (Automotive Research & Testing Center)
Location: No.6 Lugong S. 7th Rd., Lukang Township, Changhua County 50544, Taiwan (R.O.C.)
Services: An institute established in 1990 by the Taiwan government. Doing research and test of autonomous driving technology. Located in Lukang near Taichung.

Mr. Vector Yeh, the director of the
department of ARTC Mechatronics System

ARTC (Automotive Research & Testing Center) located near Taichung, Taiwan is an organization established by the Taiwan government and is specialized in the research and test of automobile technology. In order to reproduce the traffic situation in Taiwan with reality, this center introduced FORUM8's UC-win/Road and a driving simulator with 6DOF motion plate and researches the autonomous driving, vehicle behavior, and vehicle sensors that is being controlled by electron.

The main role of ARTC is to provide technical support and quality improvement to the automobile industry in Taiwan. Mechatronics and System department that we interviewed is also helping the quality improvement of the automobile industry in Taiwan mainly. This department researches and develops the electronic control, sensor, and communication technology, and conducts test experiments of mechatronics during development.

Taiwan has several automobile manufacturers, and the current theme of technical development is centered on the ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance System) and autonomous driving technologies that many studies are going around the world. ADAS is a system that the vehicle itself grasps the surrounding information, displays the acquired data, gives warning to the driver, and assist the driving by autonomous control to let drivers drive safely and comfortably.

Examples of research using driving simulator include a development of sensor detecting obstructions outside vehicle and a technology integrating several sensor information. In addition, the research includes the development of technology controlling electronic steering brake, ADAS control technology, high-precise position determination technology, decision making during autonomous driving, and road planning technology. About 80 researchers in this center can utilize the driving simulator at any time.

The center is planning the driving education training and the test experiment of ADAS and autonomous driving control system by using driving simulator.

The driving simulator with 6DOF motion plate that reproduces the displacement and rotation in up, down, left, right, and back and forth.

"ARTC has constructed simple virtual reality (VR) environments that a steering and gas pedal are integrated, but it was hard to reproduce the friction and bumps of road surface, and the vehicle behavior according to acceleration and deceleration precisely. That's why we started to consider FORUM8's driving simulator with 6DOF motion plate", explains Mr. Vector Yeh, the director of the department of ARTC Mechatronics System.

Before introducing the driving simulator, images were static like shot by a camera, and it was impossible to recreate changes and shaking of road or the vibration that real vehicles produces according to speeding and braking. However, these test results made from static images easily caused unexpected troubles when it was used on a real vehicle.

The existing simulators had another problem. They could not test the Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) to prevent from collision with obstructions in front and the Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) to keep a certain distance from the vehicle driving in front.

Because of the long cooperation between ARTC and Cybernet Systems Taiwan whose headquarter is located in Tokyo, ARTC started to use FORUM8's driving simulator.

"We have collaborated with ARTC many times. For example, we delivered them a simulator for development called HILS (Hardware-In-the-Loop-Simulation) that can reproduce behaviors of real engine and vehicle", explains Mr. Mary Hsieh, the manager of Cybernet Systems Taiwan.

In 2016, Cybernet Systems Taiwan heard that ARTC was considering a new vehicle simulator and positively gave it the information of FORUM8 solutions including UC-win/Road and driving simulators. Cybernet Taiwan also joined the hardware integration and communication interface development and helped ARTC to introduce the driving simulator this time.

Coverage staff's smartphones
To keep secrets, the camera lens is covered with
seal when the phones are brought in ARTC.

Mr. Yeh says, "We chose the FORUM8 product from lots of driving simulators because it can be customized flexibly with easy settings and has good sense of reality. Other advantage was the smooth cooperation with hardware and software of other companies such as 'CarSim', which is a vehicle motion simulation software made by Virtual Mechanics Corporation, and a steering device with the force feedback system that is made by SENSODRIVE and gives a realistic driving feeling".

Cybernet Systems Taiwan has accumulated know-how by working on the automobile industry in Taiwan. It was expected to help ARTC's research and test and connect to good study result in the future.

A research member doing the test driving by using the driving
simulator reproducing the traffic situation in Taiwan.
The 6DOF motion plate reproduces the vehicle's dynamic
characteristics precisely.
Images in door mirrors are also reproduced
in a small monitor.
The rear mirror shows vehicles

The usage purpose of driving simulator for now is to reproduce the dynamic characteristics of vehicle and reproduce the relation between vehicle motion, real-time sensor, and control unit. In the future, driving simulators will be able to be used for the experience of autonomous driving and the test of control algorithm.

The biggest benefit of this simulator brought by the 6DOF motion plate is that it can be used for the simulation of autonomous vehicle in addition to the basic driving education training. Users can try the comfort of vehicle controlled by autonomous driving, and the degree of influence that the vehicle dynamic feature gives to sensors can be considered.

UC-win/Road runs on a Windows computer and communicates with a driving simulator controller via UDP (User Datagram Protocol) network communication that is a sort of the internet protocol. The 6DOF simulation platform reproduces the vehicle motion calculated by CarSim.

Traffic situations specific in Taiwan can be created in UC-win/Road. For example, traffic scenes in Taiwan including traffic lights and signs can be mapped easily.

UC-win/Road can depict traffic signs. For example, we created scenes based on the Nangang Software Park in Taipei. The motion of vehicle is calculated by using the CarSim software. This software precisely displays the response of vehicle under various road conditions and reproduces the driving feeling in a sense of realism through the driving simulator.

"I could reproduce the realistic driving feeling through dynamic results of UC-win/Road screen rendering and CarSim motion platform. I think we can use UC-win/Road to create realistic situation and reproduce driving circumstances that the autonomous vehicle faces and the real traffic condition in Taiwan", says Mr. Yeh.

As a future research, ARTC is planning to evaluate the comfort of vehicle and vehicle reaction during the driving by vehicle control using autonomous driving algorithm. It will be able to do the adjustment of autonomous driving algorithm and parameter tuning. The reaction of the control unit can be tested by connecting the autonomous driving control unit to the driving simulator when testing HiL. Testing dangerous scenes in simulation can decrease the risk compared to the test by using real vehicle.

Members who introduced the 6DOF driving simulator
(Up&Coming '19 Summer issue)