AVTS Target Robots

Safe, accurate, and repeatable testing of collisions with ADAS, partial, and fully automated vehicles.


The Automated Vehicle Test System (AVTS) target robots are low profile mobile autonomous ground vehicle platforms that allow safe run-over by vehicles. Atop of the target robot platforms, "soft targets" such as balloon, foam, or other soft materials representing other vehicles, pedestrians, or cyclists may be placed. As such,the AVTS target robots allow for the programmable plotting of repeatable routes that are engaged by ADAS-equipped, partial, or fully autonomous vehicles.

Target Robot Vehicles (TRV)

The AVTS TRV is an AVTS Target Robot capable of carrying a 230 lb. soft target representative of a vehicle while exhibiting high speed vehicle dynamics and behavior. The TRV supports testing and safe collisions at highway speeds and can be used within indoor, covered, and outdoor test facilities alike.

The TRV was developed based on requirements from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) for the execution of their current and future tests of ADAS-equipped, partial, and eventual fully automated vehicles. Additionally, support for tests outlined by other agencies is supported by the TRV including NHTSA Forward Collision Warning (FCW), NHTSA Crash-Imminent Braking (CIB), NHTSA Dynamic Brake Support (DBS), Euro NCAP Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB), among others. 

TRV key features include:

  • Programmable autonomous navigation of routes, trajectories, and maneuvers
  • Acceleration, steering, and braking dynamics similar to a passenger car
  • Carry payloads up to 230 lbs
  • Passenger car footprint of 12 feet long x 5.5 feet wide
  • Run-over height of 5 inches
  • Speeds of 0 to 55 mph in 8 seconds or less
  • Braking up to 1g
  • Tele-operated control as well as autonomous

Target Robot Base

The Target Robot base is a low-profile robotic platform designed to carry “crashable” soft targets representing passenger cars, trucks, cyclists, and pedestrians. If the safety system of the vehicle under test fails to prevent a collision, the test vehicle runs over the base and collides with the soft target, which can be quickly retrieved and reassembled on top of the Target Robot base. All Target Robot bases are designed to sustain run-over from SUVs and some for run-over by tractor trailers. The base of each Target Robot is 3" to 5" high (tractor trailer bases vary).

Control and Navigation

The Target Robot can be remotely controlled or configured for autonomous navigation of test profiles in software. A sophisticated and highly programmable set of maneuvers can be configured to yield a wide range of automotive test procedures and scenarios. The Target Robot includes sensors for position, heading, and speed as well as a ruggedized computer with software for navigation and control. The Target Robot is can be used with any preferred GPS system. The AVTS Target Robots have also been integrated with the Locata local positioning system enabling more precise positioning as well as use for indoor or covered track environments.

Built using the MAX™ general purpose robotics and automated vehicle operating system, the TRV and AVTS Target Robots inherit a long legacy of sophisticated fully autonomous robotics functions, maneuvers, and programmable behaviors. 

E-Stop System

The AVTS Target Robot includes a robust E-Stop system for stopping and powering down in the event of unsafe conditions. A Target Robot can be manually stopped and powered off at any time with a handheld remote E-Stop unit. A Target Robot also monitors communications and navigation systems to automatically shut down and stop based upon sensor or system failures. A watchdog inside of the Target Robot performs fail-safe monitoring of signals and information. The Watchdog responds to fail-safe signals from remote E-Stop units and passively monitors information from the Target Robot computers and sensors. Upon any E-Stop trigger, the Target Robot will immediately perform safety critical responses inclusive of controlled braking, emergency fail-safe braking, drive system cut-off, and power cut-off.