SPIDER (Smart PhysIcal Demonstration and Evaluation Robot)


The Smart PhysIcal Demonstration and Evaluation Robot (SPIDER) is a mobile hardware-in-the-loop (HiL) platform allowing for reproducible testing of perception systems, vehicle software and control algorithms under real world conditions.

SPIDER with mounted sensor box

Main Features

The main features of the SPIDER are highly dynamic omni-directional movement, robust and splash-water proof design, extensibility, and provision of power and data interfaces allowing to control its movements within a built-in safety framework.

Covering a wide range of Driving Scenarios

The omni-directional movement allows for moving the SPIDER in any direction in any given angle and to rotate it in place. The flexible driving capabilities allow to execute a wide range of driving scenarios, which are not possible with cars. The SPIDER uses four high-power electrical motors accelerating its 380kg with up to 0.5g or 4,9m/s² to its top speed of 50km/h, allowing to perform all kinds of urban driving scenarios.
The SPIDER can autonomously track predefined paths and uses different localization methods to increase precision and, by using indoor and outdoor systems, ensuring an interruption free test execution also in harsh test environments or within buildings.

Light or heavy weight – Both is possible

The SPIDER is designed for extensibility and can carry all kinds of hardware starting from lightweight sensors, electronic control units up to heavy weight vehicle fronts at arbitrary mounting positions. This allows for example testing of sensors built into a prototypical or final chassis to verify the impact of used chassis materials and shapes.


The extensions can be connected to the SPIDER via its data interface to store the measurement data, further processing or even to control its movement. The external control interface is embedded in the SPIDER´s built-in safety framework, which ensures that no safety critical situations or even collisions can occur. This allows for safe testing of software and control units having arbitrary maturity level, starting from first proof-of-concepts up to production ready releases, without the need to consider safety.

SensorBox on SPIDER

Application and results

The SPIDER has been successfully used in the ACTIVE project, where in cooperation with Siemens and Infineon, different sensor technologies and localization methods have been compared. The sensor comparison included sensors using different technologies at varying maturity levels including first prototypes and off-the-shelf components:

  • Time-of-Flight camera
  • Stereo camera setup

In addition, a comparison of the localization systems has been performed, relying on the following technologies:

  • Ultrasonic (intended for indoor usage)
  • GPS (Global Positioning System)
  • dGPS (Differential GPS)
  • V2I (Measurement of arrival angles of messages from vehicle to infrastructure communication)