Supplier Spotlight

Show Reviews

Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2017 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2016 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo Europe 2015 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo North America 2014 Show Review

Click here to read


Automotive Testing Expo India 2014 Show Review

Click here to read


Latest Video

Train, test and validate deep learning autonomous driving


This tutorial from rFpro explains how to create digital road models of public test routes from kinetic lidar, followed by a live demonstration of the main features in rFpro for testing deep learning autonomous driving

Click here to watch the video

Autonomous Trap 001


An artist demonstrates how a circle of salt could be used to trap an autonomous vehicle. This lighthearted exercise – which highlights the current limitations of the technology – is meant to signify the raft of potential challenges developers of AVs are yet to overcome

Click here to watch the video

As the automotive world moves towards autonomous vehicles, is the value of motorsport as a trickle-down technology proving ground becoming less relevant?

Industry Opinion

« back to blog listings

The importance of aerodynamics

Regulatory requirements for emissions reduction are increasing the importance of vehicle aerodynamics. A further reduction in drag is key: it’s thought that most OEMs are targeting a drag coefficient (Cd) of 0.2, down from a best of around 0.24 currently, as achieved by Tesla with its all-electric Model S.

But that goal could also bring further conflicts with the demands for effective thermal management and attractive styling. It’s highly unlikely that such an ambitious shift will be attainable using traditional, trial-and-error development using wind tunnel testing, or even with the type of advanced computational fluid dynamics (CFD) that digital simulation methods used up to now.

Existing CFD tools already enable the exploration of many more design iterations than is possible with a physical test in the tunnel, saving valuable time and resources. However, the tools still rely on the experience and intuition of the engineer, who must know, working from a baseline design, which parameters to change in order to create the permutations to be tested. If the wrong avenues are explored, resulting in no aerodynamic improvement, then the process must begin again.

To achieve the competing development goals of the future, it’s thought that auto makers will have to find ways to evaluate 10 times the number of designs as before, and in half the time. Achieving this with the widely adopted CFD approach of recent years will clearly be a challenge, but it’s one that could potentially be overcome by software that systematically explores all combinations of design change possibilities, to efficiently understand their potential and interactions, and then optimize a chosen design to arrive at the best possible solution.
Exa Corporation believes it could have an answer. Its PowerFLOW Optimization Solution simulates complex fluid-flow problems and then uses statistical analysis methods to systematically explore the potential of design alternatives. Unlike the existing, experience-based method, this new approach can be used even by new engineers and can also handle many more changes in parallel.

So how does it work? Once the stylists have provided areas that the aerodynamicists can work on, the engineers take a baseline geometry and parameterize a ‘design space’ of shape changes, in order to search for better design solutions within the constraints provided. The PowerFLOW Optimization Solution works within the cutting edge optimization tools to explore large numbers of design alternatives and generate a mathematical ‘response surface’ from a small number of simulations. Advanced algorithms then identify trends and evaluate trade-offs, providing a multidimensional analysis often reaching beyond the capability of human reasoning.

Crucially, high-performance visual flow analysis tools are available to help the engineers understand and explain the trends in the statistical analysis. The data can be visualized with full geometric detail and high-quality morphing, such that the aerodynamic and stylistic impacts of any design changes can be clearly seen on-screen.

The PowerFLOW Optimization Solution has already been demonstrated in more than 150 design optimization projects for aerodynamics, thermal packaging, aero-acoustics and brake cooling. Performance improvements of up to 13% have been achieved – far beyond what would have been possible by guessing the optimal design parameter combination. In aerodynamics alone, over 60 production projects have been carried out, yielding improvements of 1% to 6% in fuel economy.

Stephen Remondi is president and CEO at Exa Corporation, a global provider of simulation software for product engineering

August 13, 2015



There are currently no comments.

If you would like to post a comment about this blog, please click here.
Read Latest Issue
Read Latest Issue

Your email address:

Web Exclusives

SEAT uses HBM autonomous DAQ system

SEAT and Polytechnic University of Catalonia (BarcelonaTech) have jointly developed a unique data acquisition enabling more precise control over instrumented parts and the entire data acquisition process  
Click here to read more

Modern calculation management

The engineering department at Hitachi Construction Truck Manufacturing is taking steps to improve its rigid-frame hauling truck design through improving its analysis tools
Click here to read more

Traveling in a Volkswagen that is still to be developed

Volkswagen Group’s IT Virtual Engineering Lab has developed a virtual concept car using digital future technology
Click here to read more

The importance of software engineering

Tier 1 supplier GKN’s software and electronics manager, Michael Schomisch, discusses how software development is becoming increasingly important in vehicle testing
Click here to read more

Daimler reveals how the GLC F-Cell went from testing to production

With the Mercedes GLC F-Cell SUV unveiled at Frankfurt this week, Daimler has revealed the extensive testing process the first production plug-in hydrogen-powered car was put through
Click here to read more

Supplier Spotlight

Supplier SpotlightClick here for listings and information on leading suppliers covering all aspects of the automotive testing industry. Want to see your company included? Contact for more details.

فروشگاه اینترنتی فروشگاه اینترنتی سیستم همکاری در فروش ماهواره آنلاین اندروید کانال تلگرام چت روم دانلود فیلم فروشگظ;ه اینترنتی

Submit your industry opinion

Industry BlogDo you have an opinion you'd like to share with the automotive testing community? Good or bad, we'd like to hear your views and opinions on the leading issues shaping the industry. Share your comments by sending up to 500 words to


Recruitment AdTo receive information on booking an advertising banner please email