An superior driving simulator helps Ford Motor Co. push out new automobiles extra effectively.
The simulator in Dearborn, Mich., which helped convey the Maverick and F-150 Lightning to market, makes use of rFpro, a driving simulation software program, and lidar by scanning roads to the millimeter to create an immersive expertise for the motive force, a Ford official stated.
“We use the simulator to refine everything before we even build a prototype. Everything from the suspension, architecture, layout, basic tuning, even starting to develop all the ride handling characteristics, we did that in the simulator,” stated Louis Jamail, Ford’s core strategies and simulator supervisor.
“Once we go to the prototype stage, we were able to transfer all that knowledge into the physical prototype and do much less tuning and changes. That saves both time and money. And it also helps us to deliver a more focused product from the beginning.”
Ford simulation technical skilled Robert Rieveley stated the machine’s motion capabilities additionally give it a bonus over different simulators.
“The simulator actually moves forward and backward, and we’re allowed to move within our working envelope. So that movement actually gives you that acceleration-deceleration field. Larger simulators do exist, but this for us was a great opportunity for engineering value,” Rieveley stated.
Initially beginning as a racing simulator much like the Ford Performance simulator in Charlotte, N.C., the Dearborn simulator has developed to copy street automobiles, Jamail stated.
“We started this simulator journey as a company back in 2016. We’ve grown the technology since then. We’ve partnered up with Ford Performance over the last several years to use their simulator in Charlotte,” Jamail stated. “Since then, we’ve adapted the simulator to all of our production and mainstream products. It’s not just a racing [simulator] anymore.”
Ford also can now convey customers in to simulate driving in a automobile, enabling useful suggestions, Rieveley stated.
“We’re able to bring real customers in and get the voice of the customer, what do they think of what we’re designing, how can we improve it, and then we start looking at how we develop and validate our features,” Rievely stated. “We can really explore the space and see how our features and how people react in those scenarios. And we’re able to do it efficiently and safely.”
The simulator might be essential in persevering with to get Ford automobiles to customers, Jamail stated.
“I think it’s going to be pretty big. We can use this across the board,” Jamail stated. “This is a really valuable tool because it requires no physical building; we can just look at it in virtual space.”