Computer-Aided Methods for Performance and Design Evaluation of Off-Road Vehicles from the Traction Perspective 2011-01-0266
With growing globalization of the economy, to gain a competitive edge in world markets shortening the product development cycle is crucial. Virtual product development is, therefore, being actively pursued in the off-road vehicle industry. To implement this process successfully, the development of comprehensive and realistic computer-aided methods for performance and design evaluation of off-road vehicles is of vital importance. To be useful to the engineer in industry for the development and design of new products, the computer-aided methods should take into account all major vehicle design parameters and pertinent terrain characteristics. They should be based on the understanding of the physical nature and the mechanics of vehicle-terrain interaction. Their capabilities should be substantiated by test data. A series of computer-aided methods for performance and design evaluation, from a traction perspective, of both tracked and wheeled vehicles that satisfy these requirements have been developed in recent years. They have since been successfully used in assisting vehicle manufacturers in the development of a new generation of high-mobility military vehicles. This paper reviews the methodology for the development of these methods and highlights their unique features. The applications of these methods to the development of innovative, high-mobility military vehicles and to the evaluation of the performance of extraterrestrial rovers are presented. In contrast to the adoption of advanced methods for performance and design evaluation of off-road vehicles by industry, empirical methods primarily based on data collected decades ago and including only a handful of vehicle design parameters are still widely used by governmental agencies in some countries in specifying mobility requirements for military vehicles or in evaluating the mobility of vehicle candidates in the procurement process. This anomaly deserves close attention of the agencies concerned.