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AI interview with Tony Best, founder and managing director of Anthony Best Dynamics

The UK-based Anthony Best Dynamics Ltd or ABD, recently won the Development Tool of the Year 2009 award given by the Automotive Testing Technology International Magazine for its Driverless Vehicle Testing System. This is the second award for the company’s Driverless Testing System (DTS). A month earlier ABD won the Vehicle Dynamics International’s award for Development Tool of the Year for 2009.

ABD is a global supplier of advanced testing systems to the automotive industry. It designs and manufactures specialized systems for kinematics and compliance testing, vehicle dynamics testing on the track, autonomous vehicle testing, steering system testing and noise and vibration testing of powertrain assemblies. ABD’s DTS uses the company’s steering, braking, and accelerator robots coupled with GPS based path following and an additional back-up safety system to provide a fail-safe means of stopping the vehicle in an emergency.

The company says that by removing the driver from the car the risk of injury is greatly reduced during vehicle misuse testing and during dangerous vehicle dynamics tests like the FMVS126 and NHTSA Fishhook test. The driverless system is also ideal for vehicle durability work and advanced driver assistance systems, (ADAS) system testing. “The driverless test system is now in daily use by our customers to enable extreme limit handling testing, vehicle misuse testing and vehicle ADAS testing to be performed without risk to their test drivers. We are proud that the driverless test system is being used to develop safer and more reliable vehicles,” says ABD.

The company’s kinematics and compliance measurement machines measure the quasi-static suspension characteristics that are essential to understanding vehicle ride and handling. ABD’s kinematics and compliance measurement machines are available in moving body configurations for customers that want to accurately replicate road behavior, or fixed body configurations for customers with a lower budget.

The company has a new range of kinematics and compliance measurement machines – the SPMM 4000 HS. “This range meets an industry requirement to reduce the time from concept to manufacturing a new vehicle, with increased use of computer analysis and prediction techniques. It can measure suspension characteristics that are important to ride and handling in a wide range of vehicles from the smallest passenger cars to light trucks and MPVs,” says ABD.

The SPMM 4000 HS records the wheel displacements and the forces and moments occurring at the tire to road interface, caused by bounce, roll and pitch of the vehicle body and also by the application of simulated cornering, braking and traction forces. These include the kinematic characteristics due to suspension and steering system geometries, and compliances due to suspension springs, anti-roll bars, elastomeric bushes and component deformations.

ABD manufactures steering, braking, throttle, and gear change robots that can be used individually or together depending upon customer requirements. The company says it can also supply path following systems that use 2cm-accurate GPS to drive a vehicle through a pre-defined course over ground.

Automotive Industries spoke to Tony Best, founder and managing director of Anthony Best Dynamics Ltd. 

AI: How important was it to you to win the automotive testing technology award and the vehicle dynamics international award for your DTS?

Best: We consider it was very important since it raises our profile within the automotive testing sector, and helps to improve awareness of the new tools that are now available for safer testing.

AI: How successful have your products been in countries like China and India?

Best: Although we have had sales activities in China and India for more than 5 years, it is only recently that we have succeeded in selling systems in these markets. With more vehicles now being designed and tested in China and India, we expect demand for our products in these markets will continue to grow.

AI: Do you view the Chinese and Indian markets as potentially important markets?

Best: Yes, I believe these markets will prove increasingly important as time goes on.

AI: Is ABD taking part in the Testing Expo being held in Hyderabad, India between the 2nd and 4th of February 2010? What technologies will ABD be highlighting at the Expo? 

BestBest: Yes, ABD will be exhibiting at Testing Expo in Hyderabad, (stand 4000). We will be promoting our range of driving robots, driverless test systems and Kinematics and Compliance test machines.

AI: What are some of the new products that ABD will be launching in 2010?

ABD will be launching a new steering robot (The Torus). This has a large hole in the centre that permits fitment to the vehicles standard steering wheel without disabling the Air Bag. Also a new robot system for manual gear change and clutch operation will be launched.

AI: What future applications of the driverless test system is ABD considering?

Our driverless test systems are already used for extreme handling, misuse and ADAS tests. We perceive that there is also potential to use the driverless system for durability testing. This will require developments to the current safety systems, for example some form of “look ahead” capability to detect hazards. With no human driver in the vehicle some form of incipient fault or failure detection will also be required.

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