It is official. The automotive world is ramping up capabilities in simulation. Applications range from motorsports (optimization of vehicle dynamics, race track familiarization, car engineering), to driver-assistance systems (development of vehicle dynamics controllers), utilizing software in the loop (SIL) and hardware in the loop (HIL) validation in e.g. electronic control units (ECU). Another major emerging market is driver safety and training, e.g. emergency services and driver training centers.

Using HIL, simulation helps develop increasingly complex embedded systems, connect them to car hardware, test and ensure correct functionality and integration. Time-consuming manual testing has been replaced by automated simulation. When done in a pre-production phase, time-to-market and expensive recalls are considerably minimized.

Using driver in the loop (DIL), simulation provides a consistent and safe driving environment for drivers to gain or improve skills. In motorsports this saves track-time related costs and helps gain a competitive advantage; in the commercial world drivers become more successful dealing with hazards, while interacting with in-car functions, thus minimizing the risk of accidents or fatal injuries.

The Williams Technology Centre is engaged in developing driving simulators in the three key areas of motorsports, entertainment and road safety & training. We benefit from years of F1 simulator experience, with excellent understanding of vehicle dynamics and driver training needs. Our capabilities in automotive SIL, HIL and DIL are extensive. By combining in-house developed software, real-car hardware, and outstanding audio & visual graphics, our simulators are incredibly high-fidelity.

Current efforts concentrate on developing a DIL motorsport simulator incorporating real electro-mechanical car parts, and running on advanced software. Following extensive research into the human sensory system, we are pioneering an innovative visual environment to enhance driver immersion.

Research & development endeavors from 2011 will focus on further advancing high-fidelity control loading steering systems, growing our HIL capability, and sophisticated motion-cueing development. Artificial intelligence and scenarios will equally be at the heart of further expansion.


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  1. M.J. Renault, Qatar simulator development programme, QFARF Proceedings, 2010, CSO8.
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