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Sensing the Future of Autonomous Vehicles: ANSYS Acquires OPTIS

The view from a virtual camera

Barely a day goes by without some type of autonomous vehicle — self-driving car, drone or mobile robot — making the news. Today, we’d like to add some autonomous-related news of our own. It is with great excitement that we officially welcome OPTIS, the leader in optical simulation, to the ANSYS engineering software family.

Why is this big news for our customers? Well, it would be impossible for a vehicle to drive, fly or maneuver independently without the sensors that help it perceive and safely navigate the surrounding world. These sensors come in several forms, the most prominent being radar, lidar and video cameras. Each has performance strengths and weaknesses that are influenced by variables such as weather and the surface properties of objects. By combining the input from a variety of sensor types, the software brain of the vehicle can construct a complete picture of its environment, in a wide range of conditions.

The decisions made based on the sensors’ feedback can mean the difference between life and death. Safety is paramount. And to ensure prototype vehicles are real-world ready, these sensors must be designed and tested using the highest fidelity, most accurate simulation tools available. ANSYS already has the gold standard physics-based simulation tool for radar design — ANSYS HFSS SBR+. With the addition of OPTIS’ light simulation technology to our portfolio, our high-fidelity sensor simulation capability is extended to include lidar and cameras. Developers of autonomous vehicles and their systems can now design with the most complete and physically accurate sensor simulation capability available in a single toolset. No compromises.

And, with our acquisition of OPTIS, we now offer even more. It’s been estimated that validating the safety of a self-driving car would require billions of miles of actual road testing, across a myriad of real-life driving situations. Even with a fleet of hundreds of vehicles, this could take centuries and hundreds of billions of dollars. Instead, the industry is turning to a “simulated miles driven” solution for winning the race to market. This approach enables thousands of virtual vehicles to cover billions of virtual miles in mere months versus centuries. To log these virtual test miles requires driving a virtual vehicle in a virtual world using the automated driving software that will be embedded in an actual autonomous car. Physically realistic models ensure that the automated driving software “thinks” it is driving a real car in the real world.

Within this closed, sense-think-act loop, the control software can be validated and trained against safety and regulatory requirements. Our unique solutions — ANSYS SCADE Suite and ANSYS SCADE Display — can streamline both the development and ISO 26262 certification of the embedded software. Drive scenario requirements can also benefit from system-level functional safety analysis performed with ANSYS medini.

The Automated Driving Control Loop

With OPTIS’ technology integrated with ANSYS multiphysics simulation, embedded software development and system functional safety analysis solutions, our customers can rapidly validate their autonomous driving software over millions of real-road scenarios and billions of test miles.

As we continue to expand our comprehensive solution for autonomous vehicles, we welcome OPTIS to ANSYS. With our joint technology, we can absolutely sense the future.

Learn More

To learn more about our solution watch for the webinar: "Fast-Tracking Safe Autonomous Vehicles: A Simulation Solution for Miles Driven.”