To meet the current and future challenges facing the automotive industry (e.g. e-mobility, integrated safety), an interdisciplinary approach is essential. More than ever before, the emphasis is shifting to the cross-domain design and optimization of systems.
These tasks require strong collaboration and networking between specialized research areas. The new Cross-Domain Area (Area X) is the result of the continuous evolution of the VIRTUAL VEHICLE organization to meet these demands.
Area X focuses on the integrative development of vehicles and systems from an interdisciplinary perspective and expertise. To this end, the experts and competences of the existing areas of information and process management, thermo and fluid dynamics, acoustics and friction, integral vehicle safety, driving dynamics, electrics/electronics and mechatronics are integrated based on their concrete research tasks, and interdisciplinary teams are assembled.
First and foremost, three research topics are addressed:
- Alternative power trains
- Safety and comfort in lightweight vehicles
- Integrated vehicle safety and driver assistance
All three topics represent central challenges in the automotive industry in the upcoming years. The RAIL area focuses on many similar topics.
Alternative power train and electrification
The hybridization and electrification of the vehicle’s power train requires the interaction of many disciplines within a holistic system. Methods are being created to enable the design and development of both components and the complete power train from a system perspective, as well as the validation of their functionality.
These methods encompass the requirements and boundary conditions, the functional architecture of the power train system, the concept choice and configuration, the design of the operating strategy (hybrid controller etc.), the integration of system components in the vehicle (battery systems, etc.) and the function validation (energy management, functional safety, etc.)
Safety and comfort in lightweight vehicles
The primary challenge in lightweight vehicle construction is the often conflicting goals of the areas of passive vehicle safety and comfort. For making decisions and designing processes in lightweight design concepts, it must also be possible to balance the demands of NVH, safety, costs and, increasingly, sustainability as well.
To this end, methods for numerical and physical simulation and optimization are being developed in order to verify lightweight design concepts, to validate production, to evaluate sustainability aspects and to enable affordable lightweight construction.
Research activities are exploring: innovative design methods; the simulation of new lightweight materials and component design and production with appropriate materials; the topic of connection technology; and methods of numerical optimization.
Integrated vehicle safety
In order to increase road safety significantly, more and more mechatronic systems are being integrated into the vehicle that assist in critical traffic situations. To this end, passive and active vehicle safety measures must be combined and further developed to create and integrated approach.
VIRTUAL VEHICLE is developing approaches and methods for integrating the various disciplines using technology and for depicting the full system (system simulation and tool chains, infrastructure, sensor technology, control units, mechanics and actuator technology, dynamics and structure design and human models).
Moreover, VIRTUAL VEHICLE is conducting research into how future advanced assistance systems can be designed within the scope of a virtual vehicle development and, above all, how they can be validated. In this context, one essential challenge is combining influencing factors in real-life traffic situations that are difficult to measure and manage.
The integration of requirements, properties and systems is advancing steadily. Thus, it is crucial to combine specialized know-how with system knowledge and to address integrated vehicle development. With the newly-founded Area X, VIRTUAL VEHICLE is bringing together specialized expertise from the other five research areas to create a comprehensive practical knowledge that is suitable for full-vehicle development.
The future belongs to multi-disciplinary and system-oriented vehicle development. To this end, the VIRTUAL VEHICLE teams offer interesting answers and innovative technology.