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Using digital simulation technology, vehicle engineers can now simulate dirt, dust and water and their accumulation on vehicle surfaces. This enables them to deliver a cleaner, safer and much-improved driving experience through better management of contaminants both on the surface and in the air.
Land Rover said that the new Discovery was its first model to undergo a full program of virtual testing prior to the physical testing process. Exa's PowerFLOW was used extensively from the early design stages - over 1,000 simulations were run during the course of development for tackling several items, including dirt and water management.
Simulation software allowed the company to gain understanding and insights as never before, enabling them to design a vehicle that meet the expectations of today's Land Rover customer, whether it be on- or off-road.
This level of testing was previously only available with expensive, but limited, climatic tunnels. Exa's particle simulation can be combined with real-world predictions by including realistic wind conditions in the simulations, including turbulence from traffic and natural wind. This generates a more accurate prediction as to the level of soiling and spray patterns you see day-to-day on the road. Unlike in the physical world, this testing is repeatable – allowing manufacturers to test different design solutions on an even playing field.
By doing this work in the virtual world, manufacturers can tweak designs early in the development phase, saving hundreds of millions of dollars on expensive physical models, and identifying issues while they can still be fixed, comparatively cheaply.
Therefore, by employing new simulation software early in the development process, vehicle manufacturers can 'clean up' and keep the filthy four letter words – salt, dust, dirt and muck – to a minimum.