“Steering system tuning on the test bench is firmly integrated in our development process”

Interview with Axel Honisch, Timo Schöning and Alessandro of Hyundai

At the Hyundai Motor Europe Technical Center (HMETC) in Rüsselsheim, a steering system test bench is utilized in combination with CarMaker to enable the efficient development, pre-application and validation of steering components. We talked to Axel Honisch, Timo Schöning and Alessandro Contini about their experiences with the test bench and virtual test driving.

What role does the topic of the steering system test bench play in your corporation?
Honisch: In vehicle development, we work together with our Korean development center that controls global development as well. Here in Rüsselsheim, we’re responsible for tuning the systems to suit the European market demands. With our steering system test bench we aim to shorten the development cycles and thus increase the development capacities for the applications of our steering systems.

You initially mentioned that it was possible to shorten the development cycles. How did you achieve this?
Schöning: We developed the process together with IPG Automotive and Munich University of Applied Sciences. The idea was to shift software tuning into the virtual world – to the extent that this is possible. We’re able to prepare parameter sets on the test bench and in the simulation in automated mode so that the application engineer subsequently has more time to spend on fine-tuning the real vehicle. In this respect, we’re able to massively enhance the efficiency of the tuning process.

So how many variants are there that you test on the steering HIL? Can this be quantified?
Contini: We’re able to execute nearly 500 driving maneuvers for diverse vehicle variants and parameter sets per day on the HIL.

How exactly are tests run on your test bench?
Schöning: The first question we asked ourselves was: How can we objectify subjective steering feel? Because this is the most important and decisive step in order to even be able to work in the virtual world at all. From this initial investigation we subsequently drew many conclusions and worked out standardized maneuvers that we now test across the entire vehicle speed range. We primarily focus on the range that accounts for 80 to 90% of a normal customer’s vehicle use – the range of low lateral accelerations and steering frequencies. Of course we additionally cover high lateral accelerations and fast steering frequencies too.

What speed range are we talking about here?
Schöning: From driving at walking speed all the way to the vehicle’s top speed. This is another great advantage of simulation because high speeds cannot always be simply driven as desired in the real world. On the test bench, however, this is possible at any time.

Can you quantify how many additional kilometers or scenarios you achieve due to the utilization of virtual test driving?
Schöning: It’s difficult to state a specific number. We’re able to run our standard tests even in simple real time about ten times faster on the test bench than on a real-world test track. The reason is that the vehicle doesn’t have to be taken to a test area, that it can start immediately and that there’s no traffic. In addition, we’re not dependent on vehicle availability, weather conditions and proving grounds, so we’re able to test a lot of things in advance on the test bench.

Is the validation performed for all vehicle variants or do you use a basic variant and for instance an additional mass to validate other engines?
Schöning: We build upon the model variant we previously measured. If other weight variants are to be virtually tested we adapt these conditions in the simulation model in advance. If we had to run full tests of all variants this would not be feasible in time. The fact that we’re able to very quickly implement these real-world variants with a virtual prototype is another great advantage of CarMaker: that you can simply say this is now the heavier diesel engine with the automatic transmission or this is now the smaller gasoline engine with the
manual transmission.

What features of CarMaker have been able to most effectively assist you here?
Contini: The high simulation accuracy ensures high reliability. The reproducibility and front-loading plus the integration of other systems are major benefits as well. We’re able to modify the models in the simulation and set up any desired number of variants. This works pretty well. You just have a very large number
of options with CarMaker.

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IPG Automotive Managing Director Steffen Schmidt in conversation with Axel Honisch, Timo Schöning and Alessandro Contini from Hyundai

IPG Automotive Managing Director Steffen Schmidt in conversation with Axel Honisch, Timo Schöning and Alessandro Contini from Hyundai (from right to left).