Over twenty years ago, McLaren made a giant leap in simulation technology as it began the development of its high-fidelity ‘driver-in-the-loop’ simulator.
By immersing the driver in a virtual environment that includes motion cueing, the ride and handling aspects of the car can be reproduced to a very high level of fidelity – so much so that 95% of car setup in F1 can be done before the real car goes to a real track.
As the simulator became ever more important for the F1 programme, McLaren Automotive also began to make increasing use of the technology to develop and refine concepts for its road cars. This enabled quicker development of new car concepts and earlier introduction into new models, with less cost and time spent on development mules.
It was clear that this virtualised engineering technology would become more relevant for mainstream road car development, and so in partnership with MTS, McLaren Applied Technologies began the development of its next generation driver-in-the-loop simulator – tailored for road car development.
The Vehicle Dynamics Simulator offers the same level of dynamic performance while being completely re-engineered to model the characteristics of a road car with complete fidelity. That includes 10x more vertical motion as well as a precise low and high frequency response of the platform that allows to evaluate accurately the primary and secondary ride performance of a road vehicle.
At a very early stage in the automotive development, the VDS can simulate every aspect of a new car’s design and handling performance, from ride and handling development, cockpit sightlines and cabin ergonomics to aerodynamics, suspension design and steering or pedal feedback. Careful attention to detail has enabled us to simulate the physical ‘feel’ of vehicles.
The simulator’s motion platform is compact and lightweight, with low-friction direct-drive actuation leading to a fully forced-controlled design with very low latency provided by a broad frequency bandwidth.
The VDS simulator solution can also seamlessly integrate with mechanical hardware-in-the-loop (HIL) to enable real-time simulations of complex mechanical systems, should a client wish to exercise or assess prototype elements in the virtual space.
The compact dimensions and low-power nature of the VDS solution mean it is inherently undemanding of engineering facilities, enabling it to be installed easily in any engineering lab, at a lower cost compared to conventional simulators. We believe it offers the best value for automotive manufacturers in terms of quality, performance and insight. It is a powerful tool to build better cars, faster – and future-proof brands in our rapidly changing world.
To book a demo at the McLaren Technology Centre, please email us here.