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Digital modelling of Millbrook Proving Ground advances autonomous system development

December 7, 2017

Independent test facility commissions digital mapping of its proving grounds to provide customers with an extremely accurate model for the development of ADAS and Autonomous systems


Hertfordshire, UK, 07 December 2017... Millbrook is investing in the creation of a Digital Model of its proving ground. The model, created by UK software specialist rFpro, will enable vehicle manufacturers to significantly improve the development of ADAS and autonomous systems.


“The software for ADAS and autonomous systems need to be trained and tested on a digital copy of the proving ground before they are ready for real world testing,” explains Chris Hoyle, Technical Director, rFpro. “By investing in a digital model, Millbrook’s proving ground becomes a simulated part of its customers’ Continuous Integration software development tool-chain. This significantly reduces the development and validation time, and therefore cost, of such systems.”


Millbrook Proving Ground provides a safe and secure environment for controlled testing of autonomous experiments and a natural, real-world, extension to its customers’ software engineering processes. Any corner cases identified during real-car testing can then be incorporated in the customer’s regression testing for further training and validation.


The success of this validation depends on the correlation between the software and the real world, and hinges on precise measurement and analysis. rFpro is an industry leader in this field, by utilising phase-based laser scanning survey data it is able to create models with an accuracy of around 1mm in Z (height) and in X and Y (position). The Millbrook model contains over 50km of various types of road, including ADAS and autonomous facilities, wet and dry handling, ride and durability routes.


“The development of connected and autonomous vehicles necessitates a virtual test environment,” explained Alex Burns, President of Millbrook. “Testing of future systems needs to begin today, so we are ensuring that our customers have the tools and capabilities required to take full advantage of our facilities as they develop the vehicles of tomorrow.”


The virtual world created by rFpro can be populated by ego vehicles (the customer’s vehicles) as well as by semi-intelligent Swarm traffic and Programmed traffic. Vehicular and pedestrian traffic can share the road network correctly with perfectly synchronised traffic and pedestrian signals, following the rules of the road, while also allowing ad-hoc behaviour, such as pedestrians stepping into the road, to provoke an emergency.  This allows digital experiments to precisely mirror the real-world tests conducted on the physical proving ground at Millbrook.


Human test drivers can interact with this virtual world in full-scale driving simulators, or at desktop workstations with basic steering and pedal controls. This allows drivers to test cars with ADAS systems, to be passengers in a car under the control of a fully autonomous system, or to simply drive around the virtual world to either subjectively assess the behaviour of autonomous vehicles, or to provoke emergency scenarios and evaluate the response.


Millbrook has created a video that outlines the benefits the virtual model brings:



About rFpro
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 Millbrook
Millbrook provides vehicle test and validation services to customers in the automotive, transport, tyre, petrochemical, defence and security industries. It is independent and impartial in everything it does.


It has a range of test facilities for components and full vehicles. These include varied indoor and outdoor test tracks in the UK and Northern Finland, engine dynamometers, environmental chambers, structural test laboratories, crash laboratories, interior systems laboratories and advanced emissions chassis dynamometers.


Millbrook’s employees are passionate about safety, customer service and technical excellence, making them ideal partners at any stage in the development and launch of the vehicles of tomorrow.

Millbrook is part of the Test and Measurement business segment of Spectris plc.


Richard Doherty 

+44 (0)1295 277 050

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