Simulation through virtual tools and methods is imbibed in every developmental step of product life cycle. These tools and methods have become mandatory to efficiently manage time and resources, and meet consumer expectations of using newer products in quicker cycles. The rapidity of launching new features, product attributes and the changing ecosystem of networks, protocols and digitalisation has challenged and changed the paradigm of integrating and simulating real-world usage conditions. Simulating the real-world for a product before it actually goes to consumers is a big leap. Simulation is a – ‘must-have’ rather than ‘nice to have’.
Penetration of simulation and virtual tools is incredible. It is done for the simplest process, product or ecosystem to large footprints that encompass complexities that were formerly unknown to mankind. Managing demanding energy requirements against the available limited energy is not an easy proposition in the ever-changing world of adding features to vehicles and the evolving mobility infrastructure. Simulating the environment with the operating variables and the vehicle, as it would integrate in the environs along with the consumer, requires an in-depth understanding of the ecosystem.
Anticipating these requires an integrated working environment to define each design specification and its effect on end-to-end usage – time to launch, target markets, norms and regulations for a long term product lifecycle, after sales, design capability, manufacturing complexity, distribution and dealership infrastructure, and the carbon credits that can be attained. It is about the circular economy of the mobility ecosystem. Simulation could be a possible synonym of energy efficiency.
The e-mobility growth has created a newer operating environment, where the conversion of challenges into opportunities is still being defined. In this scenario and in autonomous driving, the energy equation inside and outside the vehicle has vigorously changed from the conventional mobility era. The only way to reach this elusive balance will be to simulate the needs and demands, instead of being surprised with non-functionality or high costs that make e-mobility non-viable.
Simulation, of course, requires and ensures creation of design specifications, and highlights FMEA and Pugh analysis. It lays out interactions between intra and inter-sub-systems to leverage relevant methods for delivering results in multiple scenarios. In terms of the skill-sets required to define these frameworks and then run simulations, it is an imperative to have systems integrators that have polyvalent occupational experiences with transverse knowledge to collate and define implementation plans based on data analytics.
For a simulation process that adds value to the product or process, analysis of data to be able to get to the right touch points and interpreting corresponding actions is mandatory. Data analysts’ capability to review big data, construct algorithms and use the tools rightfully is a no compromise. The value of simulation could be undermined by globally predicting percentages of time and cost saved. In real world, the savings and speed to market are application dependent, with the complexity, reliability and the refined accuracy necessary for the system being analysed.
Blockchain, the next digital revolution, has the potential in not only saving significant cost and time but also transforming simulation practices. Its potential applicability cuts across various segments to make it a very important integrator. The flexibility is provided through its ability to converge modularity, scalability and traceability.
The importance of simulation and virtual tools cannot be emphasised enough. However, the success of simulation depends on lesser ‘do-learn-do’ loops, where it is important to update knowledge databases through information & IP security. The success and value add are dependent on rigour, skills, prioritisation, upstream integration, downstream verification and reliable data management. For a sustainable deployment and continual energy efficiency, simulation is the kingpin.