“Our new VDS is cutting-edge technology that emulates a vehicle’s driving dynamics in a real time, virtual environment,” said Tony Mancina, Head of Engineering, FCA Canada. “This new technology offers the driver a customized virtual immersion that replicates the ride and handling of a specific vehicle on a multitude of simulated road surfaces and driving environments.”
A notable feature of the new VDS is a three-micron cushion of air, which floats the entire 4.5-ton motion platform above the floor like a hovercraft or air-hockey puck, allowing for a quiet and seamless motion via the massive electric actuators.
“The ability to simulate a drive experience with hardware in the loop is key to our engineering efforts and assists in identifying design changes much earlier in the development process,” said Rob Wichman, Head of FCA Vehicle Engineering. “By using simulators we can create a virtual environment to assess the ride and handling of a vehicle, perform tests on sensor technology for Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) applications, evaluate different Human Machine Interface (HMI) configurations, and test for driver distraction and distraction remedies.”
Initially, the VDS will be used to support Chassis Vehicle Dynamics, but in the future will be used to support development of ADAS, HMI systems. With an overall investment of $10.1 Million (CAD), including support from the Ontario government through the SouthWest Ontario Development Fund, FCA worked with VI Grade, the developer of the new driving simulator technology.