Computer Aided Engineering (CAE), together with CAD (Computer Aided Design) and CAM (Computer Aided Manufacturing), is an effective tool to shorten the product development cycle, to decrease the cost, and to improve the product quality of full vehicle development programs.
Faster computers, cost effective hardware, and advanced software technology have accelerated CAE technology to the point that a new approach to simulating proving ground test conditions has been developed and implemented for full vehicle development programs. This paper discusses this new and integrated approach, called Virtual Proving Ground (VPG), and includes studies of Road Load Generation, Durability, Vehicle Crashworthiness, Occupant Safety, and Noise/Vibration/Harshness (NHV). Full vehicle test conditions are analysed using the real-time, dynamic, non-linear, analysis code, LS/DYNA3D and the results are processed using the general purpose pre- and postprocessor, ETA/FEMB, which is included in the software package known as the ETA/Virtual Proving Ground (VPG).
The VPG approach is implemented into a full vehicle development program as part of the commonly used Four Phase Engineering Procedure to predict a vehicle test performance six months before the actual prototype is ready to be tested on a proving ground.