Volvo claims it has reduced its research and development times significantly while ending up with more enjoyable cars to drive, thanks to the acquisition of a new chassis simulator.
“We are making substantial investments in people, technology and facilities in order to redefine the Volvo driving experience,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Cars. “Our aim is to deliver full control, ease and dexterity at the wheel. We will improve drivability across the entire Volvo Cars range.”
The statement came at the announcement of the purchase of a Vi-Grade, the world’s most advanced chassis simulator. The simulator allows the company to effectively test models virtually on some of the world’s most demanding circuits, including the famed Nürburgring and Volvo’s own secret facilities, long before a car is even put together. The simulator is also currently used by performance heavyweights Ferrari and Porsche.
The sophisticated simulator allows the company to conduct extremely early stage development on high-speed stability, balance and drive mode settings, meaning that they can be tested subjectively by a real driver, and objective data can be collected and analyzed before a pre-production model is ever built. It also gives the company more time to innovate at the concept stage, rather than spending time later on in testing going back and forth between models.
“The beauty of the new simulator is that it provides us with the opportunity to physically experience the calculation models and evaluate them using human test drivers, rather than staring at graphs and numbers in a meeting room,” says Stefan Karlsson, Manager Vehicle Dynamics at Volvo Car Group. “This is further testament to our commitment to human centric development and a cornerstone of developing a driving experience that is truly ‘Designed Around You.’”
By the time the physical model is built and tested, the systems will only have to be fine-tuned. This should speed up the time passing from design to actual production, and should result in final products that are more responsive, and more rewarding and enjoyable to drive.