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Blog series: QAC Automotive and Robotics Quality Assurance (No. 4)

QA Consultants’ Automotive and Robotics Quality Assurance Workstreams

Research and Grand Projects
Grant budgets allow for research and development of new technologies that position QAC to become a world leader in quality assurance services.

AQS (Automotive Quality Services)
Testing and Quality Assurances services exclusively developed for Automotive and Autonomous Road vehicles.

RQS (Robotics Quality Services)
Testing and Quality Assurance services exclusively develope for Robotics and Autonomous small vehicles.

Safety and Cybersecurity
Focus on developing services that adhere to ISO’s compliance verification testing automation Cybersecurity, and Connectivity standards.

Robot Vehicle Quality Assurance

In the last few years, the robotics field has experienced staggering growth. Predictions, from think tanks, have predicted unlimited value within this market. Large and small businesses alike are flooding the market with the same goal in mind. to release their robotics into production. We have identified a business need to ensure robots meet functional and safety requirements when interacting with humans or vehicles in a real-life environment. Our QAaR (QA Consultants Automotive and Robotics) team built a solution to assist potential customers with the following:

  • Running thousands of tests under different conditions
    • Using our simulated test framework, we can perform thousands of tests under different safety, environmental and emergency situation within a few days that would take months, or even possibly years to test in real life. We can identify potential issues and failures quickly and advise our customers for improvements and focused physical acceptance testing
  • Customized for our customers’ needs
    • There are many different types of robots which perform any different functions. We can customize our test case coverage to include, but not limited to the following: human interaction, indoor/outdoor conditions, weather, lighting, electrical interference, e.g. EMI and unique terrain, and traction situations
  • Prioritization of tests using ISO 26262, 13849, & IEC 62061
    • Our test case prioritization process follows industry standards for both road and robotics standards to ensure our customers are focused on safety and can communicate to their clients that they are aware and following best testing practices

Robotics is broken down into three main components:

  • Electrical Engineering
  • Mechanical Engineering
  • Software Engineering

At QAC, we employ testing methods from a software engineering perspective. We can leverage this knowledge to build a simulated testing model environment to execute thousands of test cases that incorporate obstacles with terrain, environmental, and emergency conditions. This type of testing incorporates industry safety standards to ultimately prove the robot is “Fit for Use”.

Robotic Vehicle Automation Framework

Like traditional QA, we start off with a set of requirements and rules which are provided by the customer. In turn, these standards are used for the basis of our expected results. Using QAC’s metamodel we can create a set of model-based tests. These tests are easily updated as new requirements/rules occur. Based on industry safety standards, QAC can test based on a prioritization score of each test case. Using a Robotic Operating System (ROS) and Gazebo (in conjunction with other tools) we can build a simulated environment. This system can house the customers’ robot software and call upon generated test cases to be executed. Not only can we perform these base tests, but we have 100s of combinations of test injectors to perform more robust testing.

  • Weather and Environment
    • Light, rain, snow, fog, and wind
    • Traction water, ice, sand, etc.
  • Terrain
    • Incline, decline, uneven ground, and holes
  • Static / Dynamic Obstacles
    • People and crowd gathering dispersing
    • Other moving objects and vehicles
    • Furniture, equipment, walls, and entrances
    • Transparent and reflective obstacles (glass)
  • Disrupters and Emergency conditions
    • EMI
    • Smoke and fire

 

 

With our automation framework, we can execute all tests automatically. Leveraging our cloud computing, we can run our tests and conditions in parallel to maximize test execution and highlight where potential issues are found.

Benefits of QAC’s Robot Vehicle Automation Framework

Using QAC’s Robot Quality assurance approach, we can provide our customers with the following benefits:

  • A decrease in the probability of occurrence and harm
    • By following industry ISO standards, we can prioritize our tests to factor in the probability of the occurrence of harm to human interactions. This has proven to be an important selling point to our customers as they, in turn, show their clients the interactions between their robots and humans.
  • A decrease in the probability of hardware failure
    • By conducting thousands of tests in a short period of time we can determine where possible hardware failure lies. These tests can save our clients both time and money to improve their robot functionality while avoiding the probability of hardware failure.
  • Test Scenarios and Requirements Improvements
    • All recommendations listed out in the report are based on requirements gaps where functional and scenarios are missing and not handled by the robot system. Our metamodel covers a long list of weather, environmental conditions, terrain situations, disrupters and emergency conditions, and different types and sizes of static and dynamic objects through test injectors. Theses tests allow the identification of scenarios and situations where the robot vehicle does not behave properly nor make a proper action or decision.

  • Faster time to market
    • As the robotic community grows, the competition grows. Those first to market can provide a safe, quality product much faster than their competitors.
  • Re-execution and Regression Testing
    • With all defects and requirements, gaps identified, our clients are able to address them according to a list of priority based on international standards and run the second round of tests to ensure all fixes and improvements have been properly executed

 

  • Leveraging ACE
    • Because of our close relationship with the Automotive Center of Excellence (ACE), we can provide our customers with a controlled weather environment that mimics “real life” physical acceptance testing

The picture shows an example of an indoor testing environment with humans and inanimate obstacles.

Once testing is complete, an automatically generated test report shows executed tests, pass, or fail. Additionally, a manual section allows our test lead to input our findings and recommendations.