AB Dynamics acquires simulation software specialist rFpro

by Autocar Pro News Desk , 02 Jul 2019


Leading global supplier of advanced automotive test systems, AB Dynamics (ABDP), has acquired the simulation software specialist rFpro. This strengthens the company’s position in the simulation-based verification market for ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistance Systems) and autonomous vehicles.

rFpro is a specialist in driving simulation for ADAS, autonomous systems and vehicle dynamics. Its software is used as standard on the three main driving simulation platforms on the market and has benefitted from year on year growth since its incarnation in 2007.

rFpro also supports the motorsport market and AB Dynamics recently sold its aVDS (advanced Vehicle Driving Simulator), running the rFpro simulation environment, to the Sauber Group’s F1 team Alfa Romeo Racing.

“To keep up with demand from the ADAS and autonomous vehicle markets we needed to find a global partner,” said Chris Hoyle, rFpro technical director. “AB Dynamics perfectly overlaps into our core markets: ADAS, autonomous, vehicle dynamics and motorsport. The real power behind rFpro is our team of passionate and talented engineers, so it was important to find a partner that would be a great fit culturally, too.”

Virtual model of a section of Millbrook proving ground.

rFpro’s simulation tools complement AB Dynamics’ existing portfolio of test equipment, such as driving robots and test rigs. This enables customers to test and develop vehicles in a virtual environment before real world validation from a single supplier. This level of synergy is now unrivalled in the market.

"The acquisition fits squarely in our stated strategy to develop the Group through organic and acquisitive growth,” said Dr James Routh, CEO at AB Dynamics. “Importantly, it provides the Group with direct access to the potentially high growth simulation-based verification market for ADAS and autonomous vehicles, which complements our existing track testing business. It also enables the Group to more rapidly develop and grow our existing aVDS simulator product line. We’re really excited about the way the two companies’ products, from both the real and the virtual sides of the testing market, can combine and create a seamless test platform from data centre through to proving ground.”

rFpro will remain an independent company, with its own brand and will continue to supply other driving simulator and test equipment manufacturers in the automotive industry. Chris Hoyle, rFpro’s founder, is staying with the company, focusing on the technical and creative side of the business.

rFpro provides driving simulation software, and 3D content, for Deep Learning Autonomous Driving, ADAS and Vehicle Dynamics testing and validation. rFpro is being used to train, test and validate Deep Learning systems for ADAS and Autonomous applications by OEMs and Tier-1s.

When developing systems based on machine learning from sensor feeds, such as camera, LiDAR and radar feeds, the quality of the 3D environment model is very important. The more accurate the virtual world is the greater the correlation will be when progressing to real-world testing. rFpro’s HiDef models are built around a graphics engine that includes a physically modeled atmosphere, weather and lighting, as well as physically modeled materials for every object in the scene. rFpro says it can make available hundreds of kilometres of public road models off-the-shelf,bspanning North America, Asia and Europe, including multi-lane highways, urban, rural, mountain routes, all copied faithfully from the real world.