The Austrian Industry and Testing Alliance (ALP.Lab) has teamed with Cepton, a provider of intelligent, lidar-based solutions, to build lidar-equipped testing environments for studying complicated road driving situations.
According to ALP.Lab, for the first time in Austria, this project will deliver real-world traffic data analytics from complex urban and rural alpine intersections.
Complex traffic situations
As an alliance of automotive suppliers such as Magna and AVL, and as a partner to scientific organisations like Virtual Vehicle Research, Joanneum Research and Graz University of Technology, ALP.Lab seeks to deliver real-life data on complex traffic situations to test the capabilities of the autonomous driving systems. This will also help enable solutions to reduce accidents and improve traffic flows.
Difficult traffic scenarios could pose obstacles for the seamless deployment of autonomous mobility solutions, reports ALP.Lab. Compiling a realistic database of different driving scenarios is, therefore, pivotal to the testing and verification of advanced driver assistance systems (Adas) and autonomous vehicles (AVs), to ensure that they work well in complex environments.
Through this new partnership, ALP.Lab has deployed Cepton’s Helius smart lidar system to capture real-time, 3D traffic data to support the training of artificial intelligence (AI) algorithms used for the scenario-based testing of Adas and AV features. Additionally, the collected data will make it possible to predict vehicle trajectories at intersections and enable traffic data analysis for traffic flow optimisation.
“We primarily selected Cepton’s lidar solutions because of their durability and precise detection capabilities even at high vehicle speeds. With the information the lidar sensors provide, our data is as close to real-life as it gets. Therefore, we are able to create enhanced simulation and AV testing environments as well as detailed analyses of the traffic flow,” said Christian Schwarzl, director of testing and validation from ALP.Lab.
“There is amazing synergy between Cepton and ALP.Lab, as we share the same goal of making Adas and AV features available to the mass market and to improve the safety of vulnerable road users.”
As part of the Helius system, a number of Vista-P60 lidar sensors from Cepton have been installed at the corners of road intersections and traffic roundabouts, complementing other sensor types including radar and other types of optical sensors.
The Vista-P60 lidars, powered by Cepton’s patented Micro Motion Technology (MMT), offer a high detection range of 200 metres at 30 per cent reflectivity and an angular resolution of 0.25°, making it possible to accurately detect each arriving and departing vehicle and pedestrian at a distance of up to ~170 metres around the intersections.
The Helius perception software adds an additional layer of intelligence to the lidar data from the Vista-P60. Helius takes the point cloud data from a connected network of Vista-P60 sensors and delivers real-time, 3D information on object dimensions, locations and velocities.
This enables Helius to accurately track and classify the different objects involved in a traffic situation, claims Cepton. As Helius and the other sensors used by ALP.Lab only capture anonymised data, it protects the privacy of pedestrians and vehicles while feeding ALP.Lab rich traffic data for deeper analysis.
“Lidar plays a crucial role in the future of autonomous mobility, by not only serving as the ‘eyes’ of vehicles but also bringing intelligence to the traffic infrastructure supporting safe autonomy,” added Dr Jun Pei, CEO of Cepton.
“In order to make Adas and AV capabilities available to the broader public, it is crucial to gather information on traffic scenarios that all vehicles are likely to be confronted with, in order to generate proper testing environments and ensure safer roads.”