Vehicle Dynamics Development – Launch Edition

Vehicle Dynamics Development – Launch Edition


Vehicle dynamics is principally concerned with ride, handling and steering performance and is a vital part of the vehicle development process. It aims to provide enjoyable, responsive and stable driving dynamics coupled with good ride comfort. It is the measurement, analysis and development of these characteristics that MIRA’s Vehicle Dynamics team uses to support manufacturers and Tier 1 suppliers across the world. This support is provided in the form of design, measurement and tuning services throughout the development process from the early phases of concept selection and benchmarking, through attribute development, and on to sign-off and production validation. MIRA has been involved in vehicle dynamics research and development for several decades now, and our engineering teams are widely respected throughout the automotive industry, having worked for a variety of clients in North America, Europe and Asia. We also represent the UK for the development of international standards relating to vehicle dynamics, and have experience in developing new technologies to enhance vehicle performance, such as our novel Interlinked Double Wishbone Suspension system and eDC, our torque vectoring system for hybrid vehicles. The development of class-leading vehicle dynamics requires not only talented engineers but also an appropriate toolkit of facilities and methods, to ensure the development process functions efficiently. As part of our ongoing commitment to this process, MIRA has invested in a new, state of the art kinematics and compliance test rig. The new machine provides our engineers, as well as our automotive, commercial vehicle and motorsport clients, with access to Europe’s only independent, high speed, twin axle rig. Kinematics refers to the change in roadwheel orientation due to the arrangement of the suspension links. Compliance, in this case, is the measurement of roadwheel deflection, due to the loads applied at the tyre. It occurs as a result of using elastic elements within the suspension system. The machine allows us to measure a suspension system’s K&C characteristics, and the data generated is critical to understanding the vehicle’s ride, handling and steering performance. There are a variety of ways we can use the data, such as benchmarking existing products, developing simulation models, verifying new designs, resolving problems and monitoring product quality. This data, together with that from proving ground testing, provides our development and simulation engineers with the data necessary to provide the high quality engineering solutions in modern vehicle programmes. The new rig is significantly more capable than our existing machine, having a higher vehicle mass and longer wheelbase capacity, allowing the largest of light commercial vehicles to be tested, including those with twin wheel rear axles. The high speed actuators allow the measurement of suspension characteristics at frequencies up to 2 Hz, as well as in the normal quasi static regime. The road wheel geometries are measured by a high resolution dynamic arm system, which is accurate to less than one tenth of a millimetre. The added dynamic capability of the machine, coupled with load sensors at the vehicle mounting points, allows us to measure the centre of gravity position and the inertial properties of a vehicle, or indeed any other rigid body, in a relatively short timeframe. The kinematic and compliance and mass property data sets allow well correlated parametric and multi body simulation models to be created, and provide useful benchmark information about any particular vehicle or group of vehicles. The current users of the K&C facility are mostly drawn from the UK and mainland Europe. Vehicle manufacturers form the bulk of our external customers, together with a number of leading motorsports teams, including the majority of the Formula 1® grid. One of the principal benefits of a twin axle K&C rig is the relatively short time required to characterise a vehicle. Depending on the size of a test programme, we can normally carry out the basic characterisation within a single day. Data is plotted in real time, allowing engineers to inspect the output and focus in on any particular area of interest during the test. Good accessibility allows us to make component changes whilst the vehicle is on the rig, so the influence of alternate components can be quickly ascertained. Our advanced engineering facilities and simulation capability enables us to provide customers with vehicle dynamics support throughout the development process. With the acquisition of the new K&C rig, we can continue to deliver the best vehicle dynamics solutions for manufacturers with the speed, efficiency and quality that they demand.

3 comments

  1. That's fantastic. You guys seems to be a really clever group. I'll be engineer in 8 month and that's the kind of place I want to work.

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