Guillaume Le Goff, Business Development Manager (LinkedIn Pulse)
Seldom has the automotive industry faced as many structural challenges as it does today. Electrification, advanced driver-assistance systems (ADAS) and self-driving cars are some of the exciting challenges that the Automotive industry is facing.
However, the design and proving processes have barely changed in over a century. In the digital age, when neither quality nor technological differentiation can impact speed-to-market, a shift was needed.
In steps McLaren Applied.
We’re solving industry challenges by applying our rapid-development simulation technology to the automotive space.
We fundamentally consider the automotive manufacturing process as a simulation-centric one, which is why for the past three years, we’ve been developing a next-generation driver-in-loop simulator that has all the requirements for simulating a road car.
The MTS Vehicle Dynamics Simulator is an industry game-changer, offering automakers the potential to develop new concepts more quickly, and to be more experimental in outlook. It can reproduce everything from the physical 'feel' of the suspension, steering and pedal feedback down to the sight lines from the cockpit. Every aspect of the car – aerodynamics, spring rates, damper settings, engine performance – is defined within the model to a complete degree of fidelity. The simulator also has the flexibility to accommodate physical components should a client wish to take a ‘hybrid’ approach.
This new simulator technology leverages twenty years of experience and insight gained in Formula 1, in a modern road-car chassis.
The simulator is situated in a room next door to our motorsport simulator but the functional differences are clear. For example, the automotive simulator offers more movement in the suspension, so the motion platform incorporates a greater degree of movement. It offers the same high fidelity, wide frequency bandwidth and low latency as the Formula 1 simulator, but in a form tailored specifically to road car development.
Shortening the R&D cycle and reducing the number of prototype cars has a clear positive impact on costs and offers greater speed to market for our clients.
Furthermore, the unique dynamic performance of our automotive platform makes it an enabler for ADAS and the development of self-driving vehicles.
Human factors will continue to be an important part of automotive in the self-driving age - and so will simulators for that matter.
Modelling driver behavior is still a big challenge for situations in which driver behavior is critical putting a human in the loop is attractive. The real need for our simulator comes in when the driver behavior is influenced by emotion and response to dynamic and immersive events. For these reasons, I think that to supplement the training and validation of AI systems, our simulator could function as an edge case exploration tool. By this I mean, a tool that can be used as an environment to experiment on high-impact rare edge cases that are critical for public acceptance.
In contrast to real-world testing, the simulator affords isolation of effects, repeat-ability of tests and better quality data (not at the expense of volume) while providing high fidelity immersion and cueing to illicit the same driving behavior of humans in the scene. I imagine that lessons from rare but important edge cases simulated in this virtual environment could be transferred to the self-driving software stack and generalised to a wide range of cases that belong to the same class of edge cases.
With our expertise and extensive experience in simulation technology, we’re empowering manufacturers to be more ambitious and innovative, to have more ownership of their brands, to make better design decisions, to develop more cost-effectively, and most importantly, to build better cars faster.
To book a demo at the McLaren Technology Centre, please email us, here.