BMW, Ansys collaborate on autonomous vehicle simulation

BMW, Ansys collaborate on autonomous vehicle simulation

Companies plan to create tool chain for vehicle development and validation of self-driving cars.

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Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania – Ansys and BMW Group are creating the industry's first holistic simulation tool chain for developing autonomous vehicle (AV) technologies.

The simulation tool chain will enable highly automated and autonomous driving (AD) with the first vehicle launch expected in 2 years. BMW Group is leveraging Ansys' engineering simulation solutions and experience to speed the development of a safety-focused solution for the validation of AD systems.

The financial impact of AVs is tremendous, with analysts predicting that AVs will boost the global economy by $7 trillion. But the impact on human life is even more significant with AVs having the potential to significantly reduce traffic accidents, reportedly saving more than 600,000 lives annually.

Before they drive the highways in large numbers though, AVs must first support safety testing through rigorous testing in complex driving environments, including boundless road conditions and weather scenarios. This would require billions of miles of physical road tests across numerous driving conditions. Simulation greatly reduces the need for physical testing and will help bring safe AVs to highways faster.

The multi-year agreement drives the development of BMW Group's Level 3 offering (autonomous driving, but a human driver must be ready to take over driving at any time) and Level 4-5 technology (fully autonomous vehicles), delivering high/full automation for the anticipated BMW iNEXT, expected to launch in 2021.

The automated simulation tool chain will use BMW’s sensor data through intelligent data analytics and create scenarios according to statistical relevance and AD system sensitivity. The scenarios will include usual driving situations and corner cases to ensure maximum test coverage.

Based on these scenarios, the tool chain will perform rigorous safety assessments of the AD systems in a high-performance virtual environment. Ansys and BMW will support its adaptability and openness regarding relevant interfaces and validation approaches to accommodate and foster safety initiatives.

Ansys will assume exclusive rights to the simulation tool chain technology for commercialization to a wider market.

BMW’s autonomous research “will drastically transform transportation as we know it,” said Eric Bantegnie, vice president and general manager at Ansys. “This partnership is a true game changer, positioning BMW and Ansys as key drivers for turning this future vision into a near-term reality."