The rFactor gaming engine, used in successful racing simulation games, is being used to help develop autonomous vehicles. Simulation software specialist rFpro has joined forces with Image Space Incorporated (owners of the rFactor series) to accelerate the development of the graphics engine. Vehicle manufacturers are relying more on virtual simulation tools to develop autonomous vehicles as it is essential to validate the systems for the almost infinite number of scenarios that can take place in the real world.
rFpro joins forces with Image Space Incorporated to make significant investment in Graphics Engine R&D to accelerate innovation in driving simulation.
rFpro is further accelerating its lead in vehicle simulation by joining forces with and acquiring key assets and expertise from Image Space Incorporated (ISI), owners of the rFactor gaming series. rFpro will be leveraging the experience and technology that ISI has been aggressively developing in the field of simulation realism for more than 25 years, specifically the ISIMotor including the gMotor graphics engine.
Originally created for the gaming industry, ISIMotor is a gaming engine for racing simulations. rFpro has used the technology to provide engineering grade vehicle simulation software used to develop and test vehicle dynamics, and more recently, autonomous vehicle systems.
Gjon Camaj, an owner of Image Space and now a VP at rFpro Inc commented, “Over the last ten years we’ve dedicated our team to producing realistic and verifiable, rather than cinematic, simulation. That focus really paid off with the emergence of the Autonomous Driving simulation market. Our overall simulation architecture and graphics engine delivers, out of the box, the tools and techniques that are required for Deep Learning based perception systems driven by camera, LiDAR and radar feeds.”
rFpro has been licensing ISI’s technology for more than ten years, integrating with the simulation systems that it supplies to many of the world’s leading vehicle manufacturers. The company has doubled in size over the last two years, due to the increasing demand for driving simulation among OEMs, Tier-1s and, more recently, Autonomous AI start-ups.
“Vehicle manufacturers and their suppliers are increasing their investment in the development of ADAS and autonomous systems,” explains rFpro’s Technical Director Chris Hoyle. “That places the emphasis on the development and validation of Deep Learning systems for both Perception, using cameras, radar and LiDAR to detect the environment, and Prediction, to plan a path through the road ahead, allowing for traffic, pedestrians, road signals and hazards.”
rFpro’s solution for ADAS and Autonomous testing starts with the generation of Training data sets for deep neural network models. A simulated test scenario can be conducted unattended across clusters of PCs, where test parameters, such as the time of day, weather and lighting conditions, can be varied almost infinitely to fully validate the system. The same virtual environment can also be implemented in real-time, allowing human drivers to join the simulation. This provides a world where multiple autonomous ego vehicles, each with multiple sensor feeds, can interact with other human drivers in simulators and programmed traffic and pedestrians.
“The combination of technologies from rFpro and ISI is so much greater than the sum of the two parts as it allows us to substantially accelerate our R&D,” continues Hoyle. “rFpro has one core focus: driving simulation, and, by investing in our R&D capability, we hope to keep ahead of the curve on the demand for new capabilities from our customers in Deep Learning Autonomous Driving, ADAS and Vehicle Dynamics. The deal also secures our access to key technology, essential to producing realistic simulation for perception systems.
rFpro also offers a vast library of 3D digital road models, built accurately from LiDAR surveys, spanning Europe, North America and Asia. Using real-world models overcomes the problems associated with pure synthetic data and accelerates the development of perception systems. The models allow the rapid creation of realistic simulations of complex corner cases and help to achieve good correlation with real-car testing.
As the level of realism advances it will not only accelerate autonomous vehicle development but it will also improve the accuracy of more traditional vehicle dynamics simulation. The driver will be more immersed in the virtual environment, making their reactions more representative of real world driving, a key requirement for Driver-In-The-Loop simulation.
rFpro is a specialist software company that has developed driver-in-the-loop simulators for vehicle dynamics applications, offering the fastest video and audio pipelines, an architecture for soft-real-time model execution and an optically correct off-platform vision system optimised for motion profiles suited to ride and handling development. This specialised area of driver-in-the-loop simulation is all about closing the loop through the driver and the vehicle model as quickly as possible while delivering a high quality and immersive environment.
To deliver complete DIL simulators for the engineering development of vehicle dynamics, and the control systems and active safety systems that affect vehicle dynamics, rFpro works in partnership with motion platform providers such as, Ansible, Anthony Best Dynamics and MTS. The company’s products can wrap around vehicle models from all the popular modelling environments, including Dymola, SIMPACK, CarMaker, CarSim, Simulink, AVL-VSM, dSPACE ASM, LMS AMESim, VI-Grade and C/C++.
About Image Space Incorporated
Founded in 1992, Image Space Incorporated (ISI) is a well respected software developer specializing in the fields of computer game development, “man-in-the-loop” simulator architectures, computer image generation, and entertainment systems integration.
ISI has a well established, and highly skilled development team, with both artists and programmers dedicated to the design and development of cost-effective, high quality software and computer products.
With experience in the latest hardware and software systems, ISI offers rapid time-to-market and real-time performance for a variety of gaming and simulation applications. A creative flair, robust technology, and in-depth knowledge of the gaming industry gives ISI the technical and creative edge required in today’s highly competitive market.