Issue: May 2006


dSPACE, MTS Mechatronic Test Bench Brings Test Track into the Lab



Proof-of-Concept Reduces Development and Validation Costs

by Lenny Case

dSPACE and MTS Systems Corp have co-developed a vehicle test bench that is capable of significantly reducing development time for electrical and electromechanical systems, including chassis and powertrain, while improving vehicle performance and safety characteristics.

The Mechatronic Development and Validation (MDV) Bench uses a real-time, vehicle dynamics simulation model with active vehicle suspension to create realistic and repeatable maneuvers that can be used for performance validation. The MDV Bench, which was demonstrated for the first time at the recent Automotive Testing Expo 2006 Europe in Stuttgart, Germany, is used to analyze a vehicle's dynamic behavior under varying environmental and road conditions.

By relying less on the proving ground and more on the test lab, system engineers can achieve the time and cost savings necessary to support a greater volume and variety of test scenarios. The MDV Bench also enables vehicle manufacturers and suppliers to have greater insight into potential issues early in the product development and validation process.

"Using mathematical models in the loop with real components make mechanical testing more realistic without adding much cost," said Herbert Hanselmann, president and chief executive officer of dSPACE, a leading producer of engineering tools for developing and testing embedded electronic control units (ECUs). "The mathematical models, which make the tested component operate under realistic conditions, can be modified easily, so a lot more can be tested in less time."

"MTS and dSPACE believe there is customer benefit in combining hardware- in-the-loop and physical simulation technologies to perform tasks currently not possible or confined to track testing," said Sidney W. Emery, Jr., chairman and chief executive officer of MTS, a global supplier of test systems and industrial position sensors.

MDV Benches can be used throughout the development and validation phases of the vehicle product development cycle to support system identification, algorithm development and calibration.

A more repeatable and productive alternative to track testing, MDV Benches introduce precise force and motion to the development and validation processes of electronics, software or physical components of mechatronic systems. This capability enables OEMs and suppliers to reduce warranty risks, while improving vehicle performance and safety characteristics.

dSPACE is a worldwide provider of end-to-end solutions for embedded control systems development and implementation. dSPACE software and hardware products support: model-based control design for rapid control prototyping; automatic code generation; ECU testing and validation; measurement, calibration and diagnostics.

MTS Systems Corporation is a leading global supplier of test systems and industrial position sensors. The company's testing hardware and software solutions help customers accelerate and improve their design, development, and manufacturing processes and are used for determining the mechanical behavior of materials, products and structures. MTS' high performance position sensors provide controls for a variety of industrial and vehicular applications.

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