Humanetics Creates Humanoid Robot for Use in Autonomous Vehicle Testing

Farmington Hills-based Humanetics has introduced its humanoid robot UFOnano, an Ultra-Flat Overrunable (UFO) robot platform, which is designed to be a low-maintenance, compact advanced driver-assistance systems safety device to run fully autonomous pedestrian and collision mitigation testing.
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Humanetics' UFOnano
Humanetics has introduced its humanoid robot UFOnano for autonomous vehicle pedestrian detection testing. // Photo courtesy of Humanetics

Farmington Hills-based Humanetics has introduced its humanoid robot UFOnano, an Ultra-Flat Overrunable (UFO) robot platform, which is designed to be a low-maintenance, compact advanced driver-assistance systems safety device to run fully autonomous pedestrian and collision mitigation testing.

Pedestrians and cyclists are two vulnerable road user groups. With the advent of autonomous vehicles, safety measures will need to be in place for them as well as people in vehicles. Humanetics creates products that improve safety testing for vehicle occupants and pedestrians.

Existing tools similar to the UFOnano were two big to execute shoulder-to-shoulder testing, creating a demand for a compact testing solution. The UFOnano is designed for realistic test scenarios and to analyze pedestrian behavior.

The device can drive a curve in every radius and turn on the spot for scenarios that mimic pedestrian behavior. With its compact design, it can also be used for pedestrian swarm testing, in which five or more robots are used in a testing scenario simultaneously.

The platform is fully integrated into the Humanetics UFO base control environment for complex testing using up to nine robots from the Humanetics family. The robot also offers swappable batteries so there is no downtime between charges.

Unlike other surfaces, the UFOnano’s design makes it invisible to vehicle radar, a necessity in creating realistic test conditions.

“We are very proud of the UFOnano as the newest addition to our Humanetics product portfolio,” says Markus Schmidl, global director of active safety sales. “We started in the active safety business more than 10 years ago when we were approached by a client to develop a platform that a test car could run over without damage.

“So, we created an ultra-flat overrunable robot for active safety testing, which is now known as the UFOpro and used by many Euro NCAP labs, Tier 1s and car manufacturers all over the world. We are convinced that this new UFOnano robotic platform will further help us to improve road safety for vulnerable road users and bring us one step closer to protecting human potential.”

For more than 65 years, Humanetics has provided crash test dummies, calibration equipment, crash sensors and instrumentation, active safety testing equipment and services for autonomous vehicles, and crash simulation software models. The company has more than 800 employees across 22 facilities around the world.

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