Browse Publications Technical Papers 2011-37-0014
2011-06-09

Optimizing the External Shape of Vehicles at the Concept Stage: Integration of Aerodynamics and Ergonomics 2011-37-0014

The automotive field is facing increasing pressure towards the reduction of design times and costs and towards the improvement of car performance, especially with respect to fuel consumption and CO₂ emissions. Aerodynamics is one of the fields where this performance improvement can be achieved, but any improvement in this area must not affect negatively other performances, like cooling or ergonomics and space for occupants.
This paper presents current methods in CRF (Centro Ricerche FIAT) and FGA (Fiat Group Automobiles) for multi-objective optimization of the external shape of new models, with respect to aerodynamic and ergonomic performances, and how the conflicting requirements coming from the different disciplines can be managed in a systematic way.
An application of these method is presented, showing the work performed in preparation of the design of a new model: since the style of the new model was not yet defined, the shape of an older model of the same segment was optimized, in order to understand how to reach the new targets in terms of drag coefficient and frontal area. The most significant ergonomic performances were verified for all the configurations analyzed for aerodynamics, highlighting potential conflicts and possible compromises. The methodology is then ready to show its full potential during the development of the new model, where aerodynamic and ergonomic optimization can be performed simultaneously from the beginning of the project.

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