Computer models will never be able to completely replace real-world testing. They can get you most of the way there and save a bunch of time, effort, and cost in doing so, but they cannot predict everything that may occur.
They are based on assumptions and nobody knows enough about the inherently unpredictable universe of different drivers, environments, etc., to be able to cover every possibility with assumptions. A well-tuned and experienced derriere will beat out a CPU any day for no other reason than the subjective nature of what people want and value.
An objective CPU/program can only “think” one way, the way it was set up based on the assumptions that were input. It can’t change its “mind” and evolve/adapt like people can even with the most sophisticated AI. If that ever changes we’d really have something to think about. Just like models for predicting the weather, things change but the models can only adapt so much.
Please note that the views expressed in this opinion piece are personal and do not reflect those of Mazda.
Frank J Bohanan, powertrain test expert, Mazda USA