CORDIS - EU research results

Innovative Concept Modelling Techniques for Multi-Attribute Optimization of Active Vehicles

Final Report Summary - INTERACTIVE (Innovative Concept Modelling Techniques for Multi-Attribute Optimization of Active Vehicles)

The execution of the research, training, Transfer of Knowledge (ToK) and dissemination activities of the INTERACTIVE project allowed the integration of the complementary academic and industrial competences of the involved partners, enabling the investigation and further development of vehicle concept modelling and simulation methodologies, aligned with the requirements and targets of the industrial design process of next-generation vehicles. The full achievement of such challenging goals was enabled by advances in multiple involved disciplines along a logical sequence, from the level of critical subsystems (vehicle body, chassis and suspensions, tire) up to system-level applications. The project achievements can be classified in the two categories of Scientific and Technical (S&T) objectives and Training and Transfer of Knowledge (ToK) objectives.
The main scientific outcome of the INTERACTIVE research program is the development of innovative approaches for the integrated design of next-generation vehicles from the concept stage onwards. The vehicle design cycle becomes ever more complex, as automotive manufacturers are striving to increase the performance of their mechatronics vehicles, meeting ever stricter regulations by governments and performance demands by customers. As a result, well-established, standing-alone approaches for simulation and virtual predictions are no longer sufficient to support the innovation of products at affordable costs. In such a context, concept design methodologies play a crucial role in promoting product innovation, since they enable engineers to analyse what-if cases and handle trade-off between multiple and conflicting performance attributes before geometric details of components are defined in a CAD model.
With its main focus on the next-generation vehicles, in which active systems (ABS, ESP, active suspension, active steering, ...) and innovative materials (lightweight materials, foams, …) pave the way to comfort and safety enhancement, while increasing the product sustainability, the INTERACTIVE project aimed at consolidating and integrating the scientific knowledge in the different research fields of vehicle concept modelling and multi-attribute optimization, by developing different (sub-)system representations that can be combined and used in any phase of the vehicle development process. State of the art advancements have been achieved both at the level of individual core sub-systems (vehicle body, tire, chassis and suspensions) and at a system level, where vehicle performance attributes are predicted through an integrated simulation environment. The targeted results have been achieved through the execution of a research program consisting of the following six technical work-packages:

WP1: Vehicle Development Cycle: Requirements, Targets & Link to Test
The aim of WP1 was to have the INTERACTIVE research activities firmly embedded within the automotive industrial context. All partners have been involved in the execution of this first WP from the beginning to achieve a realistic and detailed description of the industrial vehicle development process. The joint research efforts spent here allowed deriving constraints and targets at the level of core subsystems and components. These activities resulted in a synthesis of industrial requirements for vehicle systems engineering, which indicated the S&T trajectory for all the subsequent research activities carried out in the network.

WP2: Concept Modelling Methodology for Active Vehicles
In parallel with the analysis of industrial requirements, a deep review of the state of the art of concept modelling techniques has been carried out in order to achieve a comprehensive knowledge for each of the application domains, such as performance prediction for handling and ride dynamics, crashworthiness, vibration. The acquired knowledge served the project as the base for both the development of innovative concept modelling methodologies and simulation techniques, and the extension of the applicability region of existing methods, in such a way that tools for upfront vehicle engineering are able to manage the system complexity of next-generation vehicles.

WP3, WP4 and WP5 - Critical subsystems: Chassis and suspensions, Tire, Vehicle Body
The development of innovative concept modelling methodologies and the enhancement of existing tools that enable upfront analyses and simulation of vehicle performance at the level of the three critical sub-systems targeted by INTERACTIVE (chassis and suspensions in WP3, tires in WP4 and vehicle body in WP5) have been the core activities of the implemented research program. Research efforts spent under these three WPs allowed defining component-level application cases that are representative of industrial engineering practice. The results achieved on concept modelling of core sub-systems allowed establishing a common framework for sub-system multi-domain modelling and simulation.

WP6: Vehicle System-Level Concept Simulation and Multi-Attribute Optimization
WP6 represents the integration step of the results achieved during the execution of WP3, WP4 and WP5 at the level of core subsystems. As such, the research activities carried out under this last WP allowed to provide a proof-of-feasibility of an integrated approach for multi-attribute concept modelling and simulation of active vehicles. At the end of the project, advanced methodologies for multi-attribute optimization and upfront decision-making have been developed and disseminated through publications addressed at the community of researchers and engineers active in vehicle design and development.

In summary, the INTERACTIVE research activities enabled the involved partners to develop a solid design methodology base, which will serve as a platform for multi-domain (sub-)system representations, ranging from 1D and phenomenological test-based models to detailed 3D (FEM, MBS) models. It will be possible to manage trade-offs in the modelling process (between reliability and computational efficiency of predictive models) and in the vehicle development process (between multiple performance attributes of the vehicle). Such methodologies and tools will allow shortening the industrial vehicle development process, with expected benefits that are increasing with the increasing complexity of the system under development.
The research activities executed in the frame of the INTERACTIVE project, along with the actions implemented for project communication (scientific dissemination and outreach activities), generate benefits not only for the involved researchers and the network partners, but also for other research engineers and designers active in the fields addressed by the project and for the society at large in Europe and worldwide. In fact, the topics of the project address the industrial needs to develop innovative products without loss of competitiveness, which is a basic condition for industries to grow and even survive in the fast changing and globalizing automotive market. By developing reliable concept design tools for active vehicles, this project directly contributes to satisfy the industrial need of reduced detailed engineering and physical prototyping time.

A complex ToK program, consisting of actions for research staff exchanges (92 person-months of intersectoral secondments have been implemented in addition to short visits and technical meetings) and for the recruitment of experienced researchers (5 experienced researchers have been recruited for a total of 66 person-months), has been setup as instrumental for the full achievement of the INTERACTIVE S&T objectives. By promoting a continuous exchange of information and knowledge between industrial and academic partners, the INTERACTIVE project enabled a cross-fertilization of industrial needs/expectations and research methodologies, which allowed the involved research teams to address the multidisciplinary nature of the vehicle design and innovation process and to develop and integrate solutions for concept design of active vehicles.
The involved fellows and researchers have been the main beneficiaries of the knowledge sharing activities executed within the INTERACTIVE project. With the aim of promoting their career development, all seconded and recruited researchers have been exposed to a comprehensive training programme, including state of the art technical training on the main topics related to concept modelling of active vehicles as well as transferrable skills development. In addition, a wide exposure of the INTERACTIVE fellows to the European and worldwide community of scientists and researchers was achieved through their participation to several external events (workshops, conferences, courses) and to internal training and dissemination activities.
The main achievements of the project are the implementation of about 60 dissemination and outreach actions, including scientific papers published in international journals and contributions to well-established international conferences, the co-organization of special sessions on vehicle concept modelling at the ISMA2012 and ISMA2014 International Conferences, the co-organization of international events for complementary skills training.
For more details on the training, networking and dissemination events implemented in the frame of the INTERACTIVE project, please visit the project website at the address