Kilometers driven on VI-grade simulators

since January 1st, 2023


These are kilometers that are not driven on full physical prototypes, saving fuel, spare parts, transport of prototypes and people, contributing to a cleaner automotive development process

The last years ushered in ground-breaking changes in technology which has revolutionized all industries.

Perhaps none more so than the automotive industry, where radical changes have resulted in traditional vehicle OEMS shifting their focus to electric vehicles, new alliances being forged in both new and established markets, unexpected corporate mergers, and the birth of new motorsport series.

This technological revolution has enabled what used to be the promise of future virtual development to actually become reality today.


To achieve net zero emissions by 2050, 60% of new cars will have to be electric by 2030. And as vehicles continue to become more complex, embedded controls and software will come to the forefront and play an increasingly important role in automotive development.

With new vehicle configurations emerging, the influence of key disciplines, such as NVH for electric vehicles, is also becoming increasingly important. What this means is that the future is now here: engineers cannot rely only on traditional physical testing methods to test today’s vehicle prototypes – the modern vehicle requires modern development tools and methods.


The reality is that sole reliance on physical prototype testing can be expensive, typically provides feedback too late in the process, it’s weather- and season- dependent. It is therefore increasingly unable to manage the complexity of modern vehicle development.

These customer quotes neatly summarize the shortcomings of physical testing:
  • "Physical prototypes can cost nearly 1M € with controllers included"
  • "Feedback is received too late to be incorporated into development"
  • "Physical prototypes are often not accurate, due to high tolerances and use of carry-over components"


This diagram illustrates the role simulation plays in reducing physical prototypes, and shows the additional benefit of using driving simulators to further reduce physical prototypes.

While simulation provides the foundation for a Zero Prototypes strategy, the use of driving simulators as a collaborative platform between departments and suppliers is essential for streamlined collaboration in the quest for drastically reducing the dependency on physical prototypes.


Assessing the driving experience is critical during vehicle development, whether evaluating a new sound design, HMI concept or performance on a test track. Test drivers and development engineers use simulators to drive a virtual car in a virtual environment and to evaluate the driving behavior.

To achieve a realistic driving experience, we need to address three key senses: what do we feel, what do we see, and what do we hear. This includes realistic movements and vibrations, realistic environments, and realistic noise and sound.



Driving simulators have become the central platform automotive companies use to study multiple disciplines, particularly those that require subjective feedback.

Various departments and suppliers are involved in creating the best possible virtual prototype. This prototype will be tested on driving simulators to evaluate multiple configurations and gather subjective feedback early in the design process.



Simulator-driven development requires open and seamless integration of all components. VI-grade’s simulation software works seamlessly across all simulators and is connected to HiL rigs and 3rd party software through an open framework.

Like software agile development, simulator-driven development is an agile process where targets and specifications are defined and refined through sprint sessions involving multiple disciplines, departments, and suppliers.


The path to "Zero Prototypes" development begins with evaluating the current maturity level of virtual processes. A Digital Development Plan is then created to define processes for creating accurate digital twins for use in driving simulators.

Continuously improving all processes and models is key to this approach: This can be achieved in the Zero Prototypes Lab, where different disciplines can be studied separately and together, trade-offs can be evaluated, and development time can be accelerated while reducing the need for physical testing.


Download our "Zero Prototypes" White Paper

This document spotlights how, thanks to the usage of a combination of simulation software, driving simulators and Hardware-in-the-Loop solutions, today's automotive industry is able to get closer to the "zero prototypes" objective: a goal once thought unrealistic is now arguably within reach, thanks to dramatic advances in the technology. 

Click the thumbnail below to receive the download link of the white paper titled "THE ROAD TO ZERO PROTOTYPES".


Schedule a Maturity Model assessment to evaluate current virtual processes.
Develop a Digital Development Plan to improve models.
Chart a path towards "Zero Prototypes" development.
Set up your "Zero Prototypes" Lab.
Start reducing reliance on physical prototypes, realizing cost and time savings right away.

Take action now and reach out to us to learn more!

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