Modeling interaction with driverless vehicles

By Paolo Rinelli,
Global Head of Product Management,

Autonomous Vehicle International
October 2020


A new software update that enables advanced pedestrian simulation allows modelers to fully analyze potential CAV driving scenarios

The latest release for Aimsun’s mobility modeling software – Aimsun Next – includes a series of smart features to help modelers understand the movement of pedestrians, cyclists and vehicles as well as their interaction with both connected and autonomous vehicles (CAVs).


Digital modeling is a safe and cost-effective way to experiment with different designs or operations. You can build a digital twin of a city or highway, then simulate the trips that people want to make using the modes available.


The new in-house pedestrian simulator lets modelers analyze how pedestrians move on sidewalks, how they board and alight public transportation, and, most importantly for new CAV development, how they interact with traffic at crosswalks.


How CAVs cope with bicycles and motorbikes is particularly important for developers, given the risk of serious injury for those road users. The latest Aimsun Next release can accurately simulate how bicycles, scooters, motorbikes and other micro vehicles, such as rickshaws and tuk-tuks, move about the road, including non-lane-based overtaking and undertaking, and sudden stops and turns.


Another key feature added to Aimsun Next is a specific car-following model, designed and calibrated by the PATH team based at University of California, Berkeley, that represents the longitudinal behavior of vehicles with adaptive cruise control (ACC) and cooperative adaptive cruise control (CACC) systems. ACC automatically adjusts the vehicle speed to maintain a safe distance from vehicles ahead, while CACC realizes longitudinal automated control of vehicle platoons.



V2X development kit

Connected vehicle applications can be virtually evaluated and integrated using the Aimsun Next V2X software development kit, which is designed to be highly flexible and extendable so that a researcher is able to add to it to include new messages and radio technologies with minimum effort and without having to reconfigure the whole system.


Aimsun Next 20 includes the capability to interface with Siemens’ Simcenter Prescan, a simulator for vehicle sensors such as radar, lidar and infrared. This system simulates the vehicles around a vehicle under test, allowing developers to analyze autonomous vehicle software to understand how it reacts to vehicles around it.


Through the Aimsun Next OpenDrive importer tool, the latest version of AimsunNext can also synchronize the road geometry between the Aimsun and Prescan tools, ensuring that testing is consistent between software. This represents a major enhancement for the simulation tool. The system also significantly enhances accuracy, as OpenDrive provides more than just GPS coordinates: it also includes local features such as trees, utility poles and anything else that the automated vehicles can detect with their sensors.


In addition, Aimsun Next offers the flexibility to incorporate dramatic post-Covid changes in travel demand, the need for social distancing on sidewalks and even novelties such as pop-up bike lanes. The advanced software also goes beyond the current level of technology to help development engineers design and test innovative future urban traffic management systems, in-car information tools and autonomous vehicle controls.


Link to article.

  • Got a question? Get in touch.

    We are here to help!