GOTHENBURG: Volvo Cars has become the first premium car maker to buy the world’s most advanced Vi-Grade chassis simulator – the same equipment used by Ferrari and Porsche – to develop next generation Volvos.
The simulator offers exciting virtual environments including Germany’s renowned Nürburgring as well as test tracks at Volvo Cars’ own secret testing facility in Sweden. It allows Volvo Cars to conduct extremely early stage development work on high speed stability, balance and individual drive mode settings, leading to the development of cars that are more responsive, more rewarding and even more enjoyable to drive.
“We are making substantial investments in people, technology and facilities in order to redefine the Volvo driving experience. Our aim is to deliver full control, ease and dexterity at the wheel. We will improve drivability across the entire Volvo Cars range,” said Dr Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Cars.
The Swedish car maker uses the simulator’s virtual environments to support early development work on high speed stability, balance and individual drive mode settings. The use of simulation means that settings can be rapidly tested combining the experiential judgment of a real driver and computer-aided objective data analysis.
The move heralds a new beginning for Volvo Cars in terms of driving experience, said Dr Mertens. “We have made some critical investments both in terms of our R&D facilities and in our product components in recent times that are now beginning to pay dividends. Our completely new scalable product architecture (SPA), our modular powertrain program and the latest chassis components are the starting point.”
The new simulator means more freedom to innovate in the concept development phase and shorter development time, according to Dr Mertens.
“The beauty of the new simulator is that it provides us with the opportunity to physically experience the calculation models and evaluate them using human test drivers, rather than staring at graphs and numbers in a meeting room,” says Stefan Karlsson, Manager Vehicle Dynamics at Volvo Car Group.