For environmentally friendly, safe, self-driving vehicles. 2 million from the Region, Sala: support for the Lombardy supply chain
Polytechnic University of Milan and Lombardy Region presented the installation at the Bovisa campus of the DiM400 dynamic driving simulator, the most innovative model of driving simulator on the market today. An infrastructure of great economic value, strategic for R&I in the automotive field, co-financed by the Lombardy Region and designed and engineered by VI-grade.
For environmentally friendly, safer, innovative, autonomous cars
Now available at the Bovisa campus of the Polytechnic University of Milan is a unique tool for the development of sustainable mobility: the simulator - which looks like a mini car - will be used, among other things, for the design and construction of new environmentally friendly vehicles and the development of components using new-generation materials. On the other hand, the simulator will be used for applications related to vehicle dynamics, fuel consumption optimisation, verification of the functioning of advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) and applications for autonomous driving; and for the development of sustainable motorsport.
The Lombardy supply chain
The system, which cost 5 million euros, 2 million of which were financed by the Lombardy Region, is the spearhead of a project promoted by the Lombardy Cluster for Mobility and which aims to create a hub at the service of the automotive companies in the Lombardy regional cluster, the fourth largest in Europe.
“With this agreement we want to put research and innovation at the service of sustainable mobility and give concrete support to the Lombardy automotive industry”. explained Fabrizio Sala, Councillor for Education, University, Research, Innovation and Simplification.
“The decision to invest in this infrastructure”, he added, “was based on a precise analysis of the context. In fact, 80% of the value of vehicles depends on the components, i.e. on the technologies applied by the companies producing the different parts of the cars. This is a highly developed sector in Lombardy with over 1,000 companies in the mechanical, plastic and electronic sectors for the automotive industry. This is why simulators are indispensable for the design and production of technologically advanced vehicles. Among other things, they offer great advantages to both the business world and academia. Therefore, having one of the world's most advanced simulators in Lombardy”, concluded Fabrizio Sala, “represents a great opportunity”.
Ferruccio Resta, Rector of the Polytechnic University of Milan, commented: “Experimental infrastructures and state-of-the-art laboratories are essential elements for international research and development with companies. The installation of the simulator contributes in making the Polytechnic University of Milan competitive on an international scale and turns the Bovisa area into a European ecosystem of innovation. This is the level that the University is aiming for to face the great challenges of the coming years, first and foremost that of mobility.
The first advantage is the possibility of demonstrating the potential of one's innovations in a safe and concrete environment, before they are implemented. Similarly, all advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) or autonomous driving systems can be tested and perfected.
Equally important is the possibility of verifying the interaction between road users and infrastructure, e.g. traffic sensors, before they are actually built. It is also essential to develop studies on driving safety, e.g. for the disabled and elderly. More generally for the interaction between vulnerable users, vehicles and infrastructure.
This is a particularly interesting feature from the perspective of sustainable mobility to build a transportation system capable of reducing road congestion, pollution and hazards.
Finally, the simulators represent a fundamental tool for teaching. Issues relating to vehicle dynamics and driver-vehicle-infrastructure interaction can thus be taught in an original and immediate way. It is also useful for teaching best practices related to driving. Finally, it is also possible to deal with the reconstruction of traffic accidents.
The technical specifications
The driving simulator is a system in which the driver sits in a realistic cockpit. A large panoramic screen then reproduces the scene as if the driver were in a real vehicle. The driver is immersed in a vibro-acoustic environment that resembles reality and when executing commands to the vehicle, the same feedback is received as when driving a real car.
The cockpit is mobile and the driver - thanks to the movements of the simulator and the integrated active systems, seat and seatbelts - is subjected to exactly the same forces as in the real driving experience, as a result of the accelerations that the vehicle develops to follow the set route at the desired speed.
The simulator is therefore capable of integrating the different mechanical, electrical, pneumatic, hydraulic, electronic and computer components that determine vehicle performance and the related influence on driver feeling, as well as the environmental connectivity under various operating conditions.
Greater motion possibilities
The DiM400 features an innovative cable-based motion system, which allows for a wider range of motion, exposing the driver to higher acceleration over a longer period of time. In addition, a new component called 'hexalift' enables improved vertical movement by extending the available travel. This, in turn, leads to an improved driving experience during combined movements.