The automotive industry is witnessing increasing deployment of simulation during the product development phase. Manufacturers are gradually replacing testing verification, conceptualisation and physical prototyping with simulation. Auto Tech Review spoke to Rafiq Somani, Area Vice President – South Asia Pacific and Middle East, ANSYS Inc., to know how its simulation solutions are catering to the industry needs.
Given the current innovation surge in the industry, automotive simulation has become more relevant than ever before in vehicle engineering. He added that the cost of producing physical prototypes in the automotive industry is high and simulation enables engineers to prototype, iterate and optimise faster on a tighter budget, besides ensuring quicker and safer testing of cars. While there are complexities involved in real-time control that can pose a hindrance and needs to be overcome, the industry needs more benchmarks as well as standards in order to pave the way for a seamless growth, Somani said.
Somani elaborated on how its optical simulation can help design optical systems faster than ever before. Since lasers and other optical breakthroughs are becoming increasingly more prevalent, modelling light propagation and its impact have become crucial. Somani said ANSYS SPECS has the capabilities to create a photorealistic image of a car. It enables designers to use these images to verify if their interior colour and material choices look good, regardless of the lighting.
The company is going strong on ANSYS Discovery Live that provides instantaneous 3D simulation coupled with direct geometry modelling that enable interactive design exploration and rapid product innovation. Somani said ANSYS Discovery Live provides an interactive experience through which one can manipulate geometry, material types or physics inputs, and subsequently see changes in performance instantaneously. The Discovery Live can also test more design iterations in a lesser amount of time, conduct feasibility studies on new concepts and bring products to market faster. It enables engineers to conduct ‘what if’ analysis. The company has a patented technology that uses graphics processing units and the results are instant and is embedded into the CAD software and is easy to use, he noted.
Somani said additive manufacturing is witnessing increasing traction but is largely used by bigger corporations. However, he was quick to add that as entry cost comes down, more companies will explore 3D printing. This can be made possible by adopting new workflows, accommodating unfamiliar production parameters, and eliminating production errors and waste.
Autonomous cars are generating a lot of buzz across the automotive industry – a space where simulation can come in handy. Somani said as far as simulation solutions for autonomous vehicles are concerned, one can put its machine through the required paces in a fraction of the time. There are a set of algorithms in the logic of driving. These solutions can evaluate the context within which the driving can take place, Somani noted. For instance, the eyes of the autonomous driving logic could be radar, so what happens when it doesn’t detect an obstacle? Somani said simulation helps figure that out.
Multiple computers in a vehicle and varying weather conditions could have an impact on electronic sensors that feed data to these computers, in terms of noise from the perspectives of thermodynamics, heat and interference. Although questions exist about the physics of autonomous vehicles, the objective is to create an environment within which they can evaluate and validate the performance of vehicles, Somani said. The solutions are open and configurable and integrate high-fidelity physics with closed-loop simulations of real-world driving, flying and manoeuvring scenarios to validate functional safety, he noted. With so much riding on performance, he said, simulation enables you to get rid of all the obstacles on the way by anticipating them and thereby avoiding them.
ANSYS believes India’s ambitious plans to move from fossil fuel vehicles to electric cars by 2030 will be a massive opportunity for the simulation market. Further, the migration from BS IV to BS VI norms by April 2020 will encourage OEMs to invest more in e-mobility that will have a high impact on the simulation market that is poised to grow at a CAGR of 11.1 % to reach $ 2.9 bn by 2025 from an estimated $ 1.4 bn in 2018, Somani observed.
Somani said pervasive simulation will take prominence going forward. The objective is to ensure simulation is used from the simplest of products to the most complex of products and must be leveraged through the entire product lifecycle – right from the concept to the part where it is operational and even when it is
Simulation can analyse everything, be it aesthetics or fuel efficiency or mechanical (heaviness) as well as address the growing need to analyse moving parts, when it comes to different weather conditions. The automotive industry is witnessing large-scale deployment of software in vehicles. It is critical to point out that such deployment of software in vehicles can bring about errors. Somani said simulation can help develop end-to-end error free codes, thus paving the way for vehicle safety and comfort.
TEXT: Suhrid Barua