| 12:04 PM EST

Vehicle Certification in a COVID-19 World: Ricardo Adds Remote Testing

Carmakers and certification authorities can watch from home during the process
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Ricardo, the U.K.-based engineering services specialist, says it can help companies continue to validate and certify vehicle systems—at a safe distance—while most automotive facilities are closed during the coronavirus outbreak.

Instead of testing vehicles in-house or at an independent third-party facility, carmakers can have Ricardo do the work for them. The initial focus is on emissions certification, but Ricardo says it has complete vehicle testing capabilities.

How it Works

A carmaker or supplier ships the vehicle to Ricardo for testing at one of its U.K. centers.

Ricardo emissions certification test center. (Image: Ricardo)

Ricardo then would set up a video conference to allow customer engineers and certification authorities to view the process remotely. This would eliminate the need for them to physically gather together, as currently is required.

In addition to observing the test results, viewers also could conduct a virtual review of the Ricardo facility and monitor the process to ensure proper testing protocols are followed. This includes quality checks that replicate processes—such as checking tire pressures—which would usually be done in person, Ricardo notes.

Applications Beyond COVID-19

Ricardo completed the first virtual certification tests, which it claims is an industry first, last month for an unnamed British carmaker. The process was remotely witnessed by a European agency.

Further tests are planned for a wide range of clients and independent authorities. Ricardo says the tests include complete vehicle certifications and validating electrified vehicle systems.

Ricardo developed the virtual testing process to allow companies to continue to validate and certify vehicles during shutdowns related to the coronavirus pandemic. But the company expects carmakers and testing authorities will continue to utilize the system even after shutdown restrictions are lifted and social distancing concerns lessen.

Ricardo believes that remote testing will catch on because it’s easier, faster and more convenient, especially for companies located far from testing centers.

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