Mechanic reparing car while consulting futuristic interface


The race is on in the autonomous vehicles market and incumbent vendors are furiously re-tooling to prepare. But first, the industry has to overcome impressive barriers to prove the safety and reliability of this technology.


Simulation is the key that will unlock this market.


The ANSYS portfolio can simulate everything from the vehicle itself, to the sensors, electronics, and the embedded software tools. ANSYS's recent acquisition of OPTIS further cements its leadership position in this space. OPTIS is a pioneer is light and human vision simulation, and its mission is to replace physical prototypes with simulations


But why is light simulation important in autonomous vehicles?


The human eye is sensitive to light. When you perceive an object, what you see is not the object - but the light reflected by the object. OPTIS is an expert in modeling this light and its electromagnetic properties.


The eyes of the autonomous vehicle are its many sensors. These sensors perceive its surroundings, then plan and execute motion to maneuver through the environment. So OPTIS is a natural fit to simulate these.


Steering wheel and dashboard of a car on a highway



For autonomous vehicles to be viable, they have to be proven to work in a variety of novel situations. The vehicle needs to react to:


  • Road conditions including weather, visibility.
  • Traffic signals and road signs.
  • Obstacles such as other vehicles and pedestrians.
  • The condition of the vehicle itself including its physical state and position
  • and more


It is a challenge to collect data about all these, integrate the data, and use it to make decisions in real time. Here, the power of ANSYS's sweeping portfolio of products comes into play.


To pick just one example - sensors need to be simulated and validated. This includes the RADAR, LiDAR, and various other electronics components and their electromagnetic properties. ANSYS is the market leader in electromagnetics simulations and can simulate power and signal integrity, electromagnetic properties, thermal properties, and more. The electromagnetic suite includes HFSS, Maxwell and more.


The physical condition of the vehicle can be simulated using structures packages such as Mechanical, ANSYS LS-DYNA etc.


The software and systems suite can generate and validate the embedded code required, which are also industry standards compliant.


In short, ANSYS is everywhere the autonomous vehicles market needs.


It is exciting to watch this market unfold, both as industry participants and future consumers of this technology!


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Thomas Francis

Posted by: Thomas Francis

Thomas has broad industry experience in enterprise software, cloud and IT operations. His most recent role was as Director of Software and Cloud Strategy at Dell. While at Dell he launched multiple cloud businesses including Dell Cloud Business Applications and Dell Cloud Marketplace. Previously, Thomas has held leadership roles in various technology companies including SanDisk and Landmark Graphics, a maker of 3D seismic interpretation software. Thomas has a Masters Degree in Aerospace Engineering from UT Arlington and an MBA from UC Berkeley and is based in Silicon Valley.

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