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Customer Solutions
Industry: Automotive Products Used: LabVIEW 6i NI-PXI

Honda Implements Integrated Road Simulator at Low Cost

by Shokichi Harashima and Hiroshi Takahashi Research Block 2, Asaka R&D Center, Honda R&D Co., Ltd.

The Challenge: Developing a road simulator (RS) and virtual road simulator (VRS) for the designing and durability testing of Honda motorcycles. The Solution: Using LabVIEW 6i, we developed a common control program for RS and VRS achieved by synchronizing a National Instruments analog output board and analog input board using a RTSI timing and triggering bus. Staying Ahead of the Competition
Motorcycle development requires substantial technological innovation as competition intensies worldwide. In our strength and durability test division, development has conventionally followed a cyclical, sequential method of prototyping, testing, and nally adopting a design. We needed a development approach capable of using computer simulation in the design phase and conducting simultaneous durability tests to meet the demand for a shorter development time period and fewer expensive preproduction

Road simulators and virtual road simulators shorten development time for Honda motorcycles.

road simulators (VRS). The validity of the VRS simulation model must be veried so there is no discrepancy between the results obtained by the RS and VRS (the data I/O interface portion of each program is not shared because the stimulus for the RS is physical while the stimulus for the VRS is virtual).

We became more condent of achieving our goals by attending a National Instruments DAQ training course and receiving support through case examples of PCI bus product applications from eld engineers.
vehicles. Road simulators (RS), a key tool for testing motorcycle strength and durability, are an important part of this new development approach. We wanted to replace the current RS control system with a Windows NT-based system. The current MS-DOS-based RS control system did not provide satisfactory performance and was difcult to maintain. We also wanted to use common control software for the RS and virtual

System Conguration of a Road Simulator

The RS control system consists of a PC, an analog output board (PCI-6711), an analog input board (PCI-6032E), and a signal conditioner. We simulate the rough road load conditions using an iterative process. First, we record the three desired responses (rear axle vertical acceleration, front axle vertical acceleration, and front fork longitudinal bending stress) during actual running on a rough road. We then install the test vehicle on the road simulator, activate each actuator with random noise, and measure the three responses to determine the transfer function matrix of the system. We execute trial activation using the obtained drive signals,

measure the response signals, and calculate the deviation (error) between the desired responses and the achieved responses. The resulting error signals are convolved with the inverse of the transfer function matrix to create drive corrections that are added to the last drive signals. Besides reducing the software budget, this low-cost system was also successful because we implemented a synchronous operation of activation and measurement of achieved responses. Therefore, it was not necessary to purchase an expensive dedicated I/O unit. At the start of the project, we were unsure if Windows NT would provide a stable input and output operation. We became more condent of achieving our goals by attending a National Instruments DAQ training course and receiving support on case examples of PCI bus product applications from eld engineers.

Control of a Virtual Road Simulator

The software developed with LabVIEW controls three virtual actuators. Fatigue analysis software evaluates the result of activation, enabling us to predict the stress concentration hot spots on the vehicle and



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Customer Solutions

By developing the VRS control software using LabVIEW, we created the entire control system for less than one-tenth the cost of purchasing it from an overseas manufacturer.
their stress waveform and fatigue life. Thus, we can now perform tests equivalent to RS tests on a PC. The software development involved the following key topics: The displacement data to activate the virtual actuators is provided in binary le format to the Dynamic Analysis and Design System (DADS) model. The achieved responses calculated by DADS are also received in the same binary le format. Actual run measurement uses a digital data recorder with a built-in, antialiasing lter of eighth-order Chebyshev function. Therefore, we must apply a lter of the same characteristics as the digital data recorder to the achieved responses calculated on the DADS side. Without the ltering, we cannot correctly perform evaluation when comparing the calculated result and measurement result. We used a LabVIEW IIR lter to create this functionality. We implemented unmanned iteration functionality by using batch processing. This allows the operator to run the calculation overnight or do other jobs during calculation of the VRS iteration. Unmanned iteration was critical for successful implementation of a practical

The Honda Road Simulator

VRS system, and this was easily achieved by using the System and Get Command downloaded from the NI Web site. We developed the ltering and unmanned iteration in collaboration with LMS-CAE (who developed DADS) in the United States. By installing a LabVIEW runtime engine in the partners PC, we greatly reduced the size of the execution le, thus facilitating e-mail correspondence. Both the RS and the VRS can reproduce the load from actual run with simulation accuracy sufcient for practical use.

control systems. In addition, a substantial number of control software programs will be necessary after the VRS rolls out. The prohibitive cost for all this led us to in-house development. By developing the VRS control software using LabVIEW, we created the entire control system for less than one-tenth the cost of purchasing it from an overseas manufacturer (approximately 45 million yen). The total time taken to develop the control software for both the RS and VRS was approximately 220 days. Honda R&D used LabVIEW to develop two types of road simulators for strength and durability tests of motorcycles one for test benches and the other for cyber space. As a result, we are condent that we will achieve our goals of shortening motorcycle development time and reducing the number of expensive pre-production vehicles. I For more information, contact Shokichi Harashima or Hiroshi Takahashi Honda R&D Co., Ltd. Tel: 81 48 462 3300 E-Mail:

Saving Time and Money

Conventionally, RS control systems are large-scale and expensive. We also found that purchasing a complete control system for a single RS from an overseas manufacturer would cost approximately 35 million yen and approximately 10 million yen for a single copy of VRS control software. We are currently planning to update six sets of RS

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