Modern chassis development as a result of skilfully combining testing and simulation
Chassis development involves a host of requirements for the performance and efficiency of chassis components. These include costing, weight, CO2 emissions, the capability to fit into the module strategy, packaging, and strength requirements, in addition to vehicle dynamics and ride comfort. In respect to the full vehicle, the chassis is responsible for approximately 25% of the vehicle weight and 20% of the vehicle costs. Taking these factors into account, it is essential to make the chassis development process as efficient and systematic as possible. This means that the tools that are available in development process, i.e. hardware-based testing and simulation-based testing, must be linked as closely as possible in order to generate the maximum benefits. Whereas in the past vehicle and component releases were the product of testing (and still are today), the rapid development of simulation tools, together with increased computing performance, means that a few tests could be replaced by simulations and that the boundary conditions for real-life testing can be more accurately established by means of targeted, preliminary simulations. Reduction of hardware and respectively better test results achieved by preliminary parameter studies in simulation have become essential if we look at the increasing number of derivates based on a certain vehicle platform. Thus less time within development process per derivate is available because resources have not grown in the same way. This means that the reduction of development loops per derivate is compensated by simulation techniques. However, it is not the intention of the authors of this paper to have testing replaced in its entirety by simulations at some point in the future. The authors rather wish to achieve a targeted interaction of both methods in order to bring them together within development process. This paper provides a number of examples which highlight the extent to which testing and simulation have merged and grown together over the past few years, a trend that will continue and become more pronounced in the future.
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