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McLaren and MTS Systems bring simulation technology to mainstream automotive design

McLaren Applied Technologies (M.A.T.) and MTS Systems Corporation (MTS) have announced a technical agreement to bring simulators and associated technology to the global automotive market. 

Under the terms of the agreement, M.A.T. and MTS will create and deliver a next generation Vehicle Dynamics Simulator (VDS), which uses a tightly integrated ‘driver-in-the-loop’ system for engineering the development of road cars. The technology allows engineers to virtually test a conceptual vehicle design in multiple environments and scenarios, prior to the vehicle actually being produced. The VDS is specifically geared toward commercial road car development, and will be tailored to the individual needs of each client. 

The technology can be experienced today at the McLaren Technology Centre, with a further simulator available to test by prospective customers in 2016. 

The agreement between M.A.T. and MTS draws on both companies’ rich heritage in simulation technology. The Racing arm of McLaren pioneered the use of simulation technology in Formula 1, and has been utilising this approach to car design for over 15 years.  More recently, McLaren Automotive has deployed the innovative technology in its design of the ground-breaking McLaren P1™ and critically acclaimed McLaren 650S. MTS is known for world-class expertise in mechanical testing and sensing solutions, spanning industries including energy, automotive, aerospace, materials sciences, and civil engineering. 

Geoff McGrath, vice president of M.A.T. said: “By combining McLaren’s vehicle modelling expertise and simulator technology with MTS’ experience in testing and simulation solutions, we hope to revolutionise mainstream car development on a global scale. 

“McLaren has long been aware of the advantages of simulated vehicle design, including quicker speed to market, less reliance on the development of physical prototypes and reduced environmental impact. These benefits are increasingly pertinent to vehicle manufacturers as legal requirements grow, and customers’ tastes become ever more exacting. It has never been more complex or costly to bring a road car from initial design to the showroom. 

“The simulators and associated technologies developed by M.A.T. and MTS deliver unique advantages because they are built on the ‘driver-in-the-loop’ model. The driver is immersed into a complex simulation of a car, which enables accurate, human feedback to the vehicle engineering team. Car set-up can then be changed, and further tests conducted immediately.” 

 “MTS is very excited about this agreement and the opportunities it presents for both organisations,” stated Dr. Bill Bachrach, senior vice president and general manager of MTS Test. “Our leading–edge technology and expertise in real-world simulation, when paired with McLaren’s simulation and vehicle design excellence, brings a game-changing solution to automotive OEMs around the world.”

About driver in the loop simulation

Driver in the loop simulation technology allows engineers to virtually test a conceptual vehicle design in multiple environments and scenarios, prior to the vehicle actually being produced. 

Whilst traditional automotive driving simulators have tended to focus solely on replicating realistic driving environments to assess driver behaviour, McLaren and MTS’ state of the art simulation system offers a more holistic, complete approach to vehicle development, driven by data and facilitating maximum accuracy and immersion during the design and testing process. It features a proven system of high frequency cueing via steering feedback, vestibular motion cueing, and sustained load mechanisms.

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