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.
CONVERGING DEVELOPMENT CHALLENGES
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.
OPTIMIZING YOUR TESTING PROCESSES
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"
SIMULATORS REDUCE PROTOTYPE REQUIREMENTS
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.
Mahindra collaborated with Applus+ Idiada to design and develop a new SUV with exceptional dynamic performance using a driving simulator.
SUPPLY CHAIN COLLABORATION
Lamborghini and Bridgestone collaborated in optimizing the combination of suspension setup and tire footprint through simulation and the use of driving simulators.
Before the first prototype was produced, Ford used a driving simulator to calibrate the lane keeping assist feature.
General Motors improved the NVH sensory experience of their cars by creating a more immersive environment on a driving simulator.
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.
A wide array of simulators ensures the best fit for each application and enables all disciplines requiring subjective feedback to be studied. Using driving simulators enables the entire frequency range of the driving experience to be studied as close to reality as possible.
Simulation models are continuously refined throughout the development cycle. This ensures accurate analysis with the appropriate level of detail. Digital twins are improved until they match the final product.
Simulator-driven development can only be effective if models are quickly and easily available. This approach enables efficient testing and validation of design configurations, providing valuable feedback early in the development 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.
ON THE ROAD TO ZERO PROTOYPES
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.
By utilizing their DiM150 driving simulator, Volvo was able to greatly accelerate the development of their recent SUV, reducing the development time by a factor of 2. This allowed them to bring the vehicle to market faster.
DEVELOPMENT DONE VIRTUALLY
Alfa Romeo significantly accelerated the development of the Giulia model by utilizing their simulator for the majority of the process, completing 90% of the development before building the first physical prototype.
By utilizing their DiM150 dynamic simulator, NIO was able to significantly decrease the number of physical prototypes needed during the development process by 40%, allowing for efficient validation of various designs.
DEVELOPMENT PROCESS EFFICIENCY
Ford recently reported a significant increase in efficiency by using driving simulators, claiming that tasks that would take a month to complete at a proving ground can be finished in just one week using simulation technology.
YOUR PATH 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!