1995-11-01

The New Ford Aeromax and Louisville Heavy Trucks: A Case Study in Applying Polar Plot Techniques to Vehicle Design 952658

One of the major goals in the design of the new Ford Aeromax and Louisville heavy truck product line was to achieve competitive leadership in visibility. Market research found that visibility was an important issue to the heavy truck driver. Visibility is defined as both direct and indirect (i.e., the driver's ability to see with and without the use of supplemental vision devices such as mirrors) and both interior and exterior. The scope of this paper includes the work which was accomplished in evaluating direct and indirect exterior visibility and the resulting vehicle design which achieved Ford's leadership goals. Poor weather visibility and interior vision are beyond the scope of this paper.
Polar Plots were the method of choice in the Aeromax/Louisville visibility studies. Industry acceptance of these techniques has been established in the recent approval of SAE J1750, “Evaluating the Truck Driver's Viewing Environment”. Competitive and current product plots were generated based on three dimensional vehicle scan data. This information was used to establish current performance. Typical areas of reduced visibility in heavy vehicle configurations were studied and visibility priorities were determined. Development of the Aeromax and Louisville vehicle architecture was iterated to achieve both the visibility and other vehicle package goals. Mirror location and design were studied once direct visibility was optimized. Polar Plots were successfully used throughout this process to confirm performance.

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