Vehicle simulation for both occasional and expert users: new features in VehicleSim products
Mechanical Simulation, CEO and Chief Technology Officer Dr. Michael W. Sayers
When Mechanical Simulation introduced CarSim in 1996, the role of vehicle dynamics simulation in industry was limited to a few specialists in research labs. Since that time, many advanced controllers that have become standard interact closely with the traditional dynamic vehicle behavior. Detailed physical testing for every available combination is simply not possible, so large-scale simulations are combined with selected physical tests to develop and test new systems both for development and for regulatory compliance. As a result, the VehicleSim products CarSim, BikeSim, and TruckSim are being used by thousands of engineers, with vastly different requirements and levels of experience.
On the one hand, many of today’s simulation users are not specialists with respect to the simulation tools; they are occasional users who need to be productive with minimal time and training. On the other hand, experts are using the simulation tools for many applications that were not anticipated in the original development of the software. It turns out that almost every user of our software is an expert in some specific area of its use, requiring some of the most advanced simulation technology in some niche application. At the same time, almost every user considers most of the capabilities to be a “black box” that should “just work” without requiring extensive training or experience.
In 2012, Mechanical Simulation will release CarSim 8.2, BikeSim 3.2, and TruckSim 8.2. Because all users need to run the software with minimal training, the new versions have an improved user interface and simpler database management that uses Windows GUI standards whenever possible. At the same time, advanced features used to extend the model have been further improved, extended, and standardized. The new versions have some specific new features in the math models, which will be presented, but the emphasis will be on improved user interface features (for the casual user) and improved model extension options (for the expert user).