VI-grade, an engineering simulation software provider, has developed driving simulator technology, VI-DriveSim Dynamic, with support from MapleSim. This high-end driving simulator allows automotive OEMs and racing teams to test full vehicle configurations, from the engine through the transmission to the suspension and tyres, using a human driver and a virtual vehicle. Driver feedback can then be taken into account and improvements made before any expensive physical prototypes are built. The simulator needs to be so accurate that the most sensitive professional driver can feel the smallest change in vehicle performance.
The VI-DriveSim Dynamic simulator works by running a virtual mathematical model of the vehicle and track, and linking it to a six degree of freedom motion platform designed expressly for automotive requirements by Ansible Motion. The inputs to the virtual model are supplied by drivers’ actions in the simulator as they shift, steer, brake and accelerate. In turn, the platform controller provides real-time input to the platform actuators, according to what happens to the vehicle model as it responds to the inputs. The physical simulator platform provides inertial feedback to the driver, allowing them to interact in a natural way with the virtual vehicle model.
An inverse kinematics/dynamics model of the motion platform is required so the software knows what changes to the platform will produce the correct forces on the driver to simulate the vehicle in motion. To acquire these inverse relationships, which will provide the most accurate response of the system, Ansible Motion used Maplesoft’s system-level modelling and simulation tool, MapleSim, to build the platform model and to analytically solve for the inverse kinematic equations. Having access to these equations is crucial and could not have been achieved without a symbolic/analytical computational engine such as Maple, the mathematical engine behind MapleSim.