FKFS Veranstaltungen

2025 Stuttgart International Symposium
on Automotive and Engine Technology

3. - 4. Juli 2025

Session: Autonomous Driving II | | 15:30 - 16:00

FMCW Lidar Simulation with Ray Tracing and Standardized Interfaces

Kristof Hofrichter, Technical University of Darmstadt

In pursuit of safety validation of automated driving functions, efforts are being made to accompany real world test drives by test drives in virtual environments. To be able to transfer highly automated driving functions into a simulation, models of the vehicle’s perception sensors such as lidar, radar and camera are required. In addition to the classic pulsed time-of-flight (ToF) lidars, the growing availability of commercial frequency modulated continuous wave (FMCW) lidars sparks interest in the field of environment perception. This is due to advanced capabilities such as directly measuring the target’s relative radial velocity based on the Doppler effect. In this work, an FMCW lidar sensor simulation model is introduced, which is divided into the components of signal propagation and signal processing. The signal propagation is modeled by a ray tracing approach simulating the interaction of light waves with the environment. For this purpose, an ASAM Open Simulation Interface (OSI) object list referencing virtual 3D objects provides the input for the ray tracer. The divergence of the continuous laser beam is approximated by super-sampling the beam with multiple rays, the calculation of the received power is supported by the future ASAM OpenMATERIAL standard. Subsequently, the output of the ray tracer serves as the input of the signal processing that adapts the so-called Fourier tracing from the field of radar sensor simulation. This approach uses the range and velocity information of the individual rays to estimate the frequency spectrum of the intermediate frequency signal. A subsequent peak detection algorithm determines the output of the model, which is provided in the form of OSI lidar detections. Verification scenarios are tested to check the plausibility of the output and the source code of the signal processing is made available as open source.