Distributed vehicle testing : dynamic simulation for automotive winter testing

Abstract: Today, rather than provide parts similar to their competitors and rely on one or two automakers, successful automotive component suppliers focus heavily on innovation and collaboration with several manufacturers in a global market. In this thesis, an as-is scenario for automotive winter testing is presented. A plausible to-be scenario framed by a Functional Product Innovation (FPI) vision is discussed. This vision places an emphasis on additional knowledge and information in early design phases, such as the importance of understanding the actual use of the product and the environment where it is going to be used since these aspects need to be designed into the final product. Life cycle perspective and close cross- company collaboration in the design and development of products constitutes a basis for realizing FPI. A simulation-driven approach during the early phases to support product development decisions, by the same token, try out those solutions in numerous of what-if business scenarios, is also included in the vision. A concept enabling distributed vehicle testing is suggested with an emphasis on vehicle dynamics simulation and visualization. The main benefit of this concept is that different disciplines involved in the product development process can use the system to enhance the concurrency between activities. Control system engineers and mechanical engineers can view ongoing tests in real-time and change designs, and efficiently re- simulate and influence ongoing tests in a distributed manner. The use of dynamic simulation software during the test in real-time will give more information of the vehicle's behavior and feed the visualization application with the data needed to render the moving vehicle in a 3D environment. By using visualization aids, engineers can simultaneously see the behavior of the vehicle and regular data presented in graphs or tables, and thus perceive more information from the test. A Java based visualization application presents the test results in a rich 3D environment, thus enabling non-experts to understand the dynamic behavior of complex vehicle systems. This application will contribute to an enhanced validation of the vehicle and the ability to collaborate in a distributed real-time virtual environment. By supporting test procedures with real-time simulations and in particular 3D visualization, how the tests are conducted radically changes. The approach supports decision-making to become a more concurrent activity, as well as facilitating and enabling distributed collaborative work. Furthermore, the approach increases the opportunity to extract rich information of the vehicle and its systems, which provides a good basis for well-informed decisions.

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