In the automotive industry one of the methods used in accelerating the design, testing and development of a system or a vehicle is the use of virtual vehicle simulations. The simulations cut costs in the form of fewer prototypes required for actual testing and accelerated fault finding in the design of a system. The simulation results are very dependent on the model used for the simulation and the inputs to the system. Feasible results can often be obtained with a simplified model if the correct input data is supplied to the simulation. In South Africa, the commercial, military and off-road vehicle industries mainly use the test tracks at the Gerotek Test Facilities for ride comfort and durability tests over repeatable terrains. Terrain profiles of these tracks are not available and cannot be measured using commercially available inertial profilometers due to the severe roughness of the terrain. This study concentrates on obtaining the input data in the form of the terrain profile used for vehicle simulations and field tests in which a vehicle is driving on rough terrains. The input data is referred to as the profile of the terrain and the profiled terrains are the actual terrains used for testing. Three different methods are used in measuring the profile of the terrain namely a mechanical profilometer, photogrammetry and a 3-D scanner using a laser displacement sensor. These methods are evaluated by profiling the same section of the Belgian paving and calculating the Displacement Spectral Densities. The most efficient method is used to profile additional terrains. The terrain profiles thus obtained is used as input to an existing off-road vehicle simulation model built in MSC Adams View. This model has previously been verified over discrete obstacles where excellent correlation with experimental results was obtained. Comparison between simulated and measured results over the terrains profiled in this study also gives good correlation, establishing further confidence in the measured terrain profiles.
Dissertation (MEng)--University of Pretoria, 2009.