Simulator bridges reality gap

| Information and Communication Technology

The Driver-in-Motion simulation system at Applus+ IDIADA replicates the Spanish company’s proving grounds

Spanish engineering consultancy takes on simulation to virtualise its real world testing facilities to reduce automotive development times.

Applus+ IDIADA is a Spanish automotive engineering and testing organisation with proving grounds to support automotive development and testing. It has now expanded its development capabilities into the virtual world with the acquisition of two driving simulators from VI-grade, the DiM250 and a compact simulator. These new driving simulators mean IDIADA can now offer virtual testing, reducing development times in areas such as chassis development, vehicle dynamics and Connected Autonomous Vehicle (CAV) development.

Bridging the Virtual Gap

By exploiting the synergies between physical and virtual testing, IDIADA can generate and correlate models in optimal context with the possibility of using IDIADA’s tracks, available as public road data files and high-resolution graphics.

“The driving simulator is a key facility in our chassis and vehicle dynamics development projects as it links up our virtual and real activities.” said Roger Mateu, Head of Vehicle Dynamics and NVH at Applus+ IDIADA.

Engineering grade driving simulators use track or road data available from a number of libraries that help to simulate real driving conditions, for example city driving or high speed intercity highways. What differentiates the virtual testing laboratory in Spain is the fact that the simulator replicates the proving ground available at the facility so virtual test runs can be mapped and compared to real world experiences on the test track.

Essential Development Tool

Driving Simulators are an essential tool in the development and testing of new vehicles. The level of accuracy of virtual vehicle models, the precision of movements of the motion platform and the availability of rendered tracks has reached an unprecedented level of accuracy. Results coming out from driving simulators are reliable and CAE engineers together with test drivers can take important decisions before building the first prototype and hitting the test track for the first time.

According to Alessio Lombardi, the Sales Director for South Europe at VI-Grade, IDIADA selected the DiM250 Dynamic Driving Simulator and COMPACT Simulator from VI-Grade to gain better insight into the correlation between track testing and simulation, to help its customers to develop cars faster and better and to provide a multidisciplinary laboratory to find the best trade-off between different vehicle targets.

“What IDIADA is doing is a sign of the revolution that is happening in the way cars are developed nowadays and engineers and drivers here are getting ready for the near future,” comments Lombardi.

DiM250 Simulator

The new simulation lab’s main feature at the Spanish proving ground is the dynamic DiM250 simulator, which can generate longitudinal, transversal and rotational acceleration forces up to 2.5g, characterised by extremely low latency and high-frequency, replicating a wide range of vehicle dynamics manoeuvres and reproducing complex driving situations. The DiM250 main simulator is complemented by a compact driving simulator that shares the same main features, except for the motion system.

The DiM concept from VI-Grade involves a new motion platform and the provision of “Driver-in-Motion” facilities providing the ability to appraise vehicle chassis performance as well as ride comfort in one simulator.

For the DiM250, VI-Grade has moved away from the conventional hexapod style motion platform to provide a larger operating space for the platform and achieve the actuation and motion dynamics that relate to modern automotive design.

The company has worked on the cueing (or signalling) to the driver to obtain highly realistic, low latency and quick response reactions in the simulator to driver actions as well as supplying integrated motion and visual feedback to the driver to provide the most realistic driving experience possible.

Jonathan Newell
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