Goodyear and Michelin North America Inc. are installing driving simulators at their respective technical centers to help enhance their product development capabilities.
Goodyear has selected a pair of simulators from Vi-grade GmbH for its innovation centers in Luxembourg and Akron, the company disclosed recently, while Michelin is installing an Ansible Motion Driver-in-the-Loop (DIL) simulator at its North America R&D center in Greenville, S.C.
Darmstadt, Germany-based Vi-grade recently delivered a Compact Simulator to Goodyear Luxembourg and will be installing a Dynamic Driving Simulator DiM250 (Driver-in-Motion) at the Akron technical center in the coming months, Goodyear said, noting that this investment will allow it to work more collaboratively with vehicle makers on original equipment fitments.
"This level of simulation sophistication will allow Goodyear to drive breakthroughs in future tire creation, leading to an enhanced customer and driver experience," Chris Helsel, Goodyear's senior vice president and chief technology officer, said.
The driving simulators will be used for virtual development and tuning of dynamic performances of tires, aided by the ability to simulate a range of driving conditions, Goodyear said.
"Goodyear's vision to purchase and work with us on a dedicated training program to ensure efficiency in operation of these simulators will give it a distinct competitive advantage," Guido Bairati, vice president, global sales and marketing for VI-grade, said.
The COMPACT Simulator provides all the main features of VI-grade Driving Simulators in a reduced space, Vi-grade said.
Goodyear did not disclose the scale of investment these purchases represent.
For Michelin, the addition of the DIL simulator from Ansible Motion Ltd. of Norwich, England, will allow the company "to satisfy the needs of our customers for reliable vehicle models by providing robust and accurate tire models," Rajat Aggarwal, tire performance expert, said.
As one of the world's leading tire manufacturers, Michelin sees an increasing need for human-in-the-loop simulation.
"Our customers rely on virtual vehicle models to gain efficiency, improve performance and reduce cost during the vehicle development process," Aggarwal said, noting that Michelin will leverage data generated through the simulator—such as a tire's thermal and transient state as well as forces and torques in both offline and online real-time simulation environments—through its "TameTire" tire model for tire design.
The Theta C simulator connects real people with detailed simulation environments, enabling virtual test driving and evaluation of tire-road-vehicle interactions in advance and in parallel with physical testing, Ansible Motion said.
Ansible Motion described the Theta C simulator as a compact, self-contained cube simulator, which incorporates technology designed to handle sophisticated vehicle and environmental physics models, thus allowing validation of emerging automotive technologies.
"We've distilled the key engineering-grade componentry that's required for human immersion inside a small physical space," Kia Cammaerts, director of Ansible Motion, said. "We see Theta C as a fundamental building block for connecting real people with automotive simulation environments. It's aimed at delivering a practical balance between cost, complexity and capability."
The Theta C simulator was unveiled as a prototype in May 2019 at the Automotive Engineering Exposition 2019 in Yokohama, Japan. The commercially viable model debuted last October.
Michelin did not disclose its investment in this technology.
Established in 2005, VI-grade describes itself as the "leading" provider of software products and services for advanced applications in the field of system level simulation.
Ansible considers itself a pioneer in driving simulator development and remains at the "vanguard" of human and hardware in-the-loop technologies.