Automotive Testing Expo: How to test NVH before the first prototype is built

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Gary Newton Jr, director – automotive, Americas at Brüel & Kjær, previews his presentation on NVH simulation at the Open Technology Forum, which is free to attend and part of Automotive Testing Expo.

What is the background to your presentation?

There is a shift in the automotive development process toward using more simulation and reducing prototypes. Vehicle prototypes are extremely expensive and are often not even available in the early stages of development. Traditional executive drives for NVH evaluation are difficult to manage and back-to-back evaluations can be flawed due to short-term auditory memory issues. There is currently no way to evaluate a target sound for a program as this is usually done before any hardware exists. The engineering team might find later on in the development process that scenarios are difficult, expensive and time-consuming to resolve.

Tell us about your new approach to NVH testing.

Our approach bridges the current gap between simulation models and physical test data sets. By putting the two together we can evaluate new models, systems or components before any hardware is manufactured. Our process allows a real-time, back-to-back comparison, with the additional context of people’s driving habits.

This way, we can set and confirm target compliance at very early stages in the development process, and we can incorporate subsystem-level data from physical testing, using HIL/SIL streams and multiple CAE models. Using NVH simulators can also help to evaluate the value of lightweighting programs and answer the dollars-versus-decibels question.

To what extent can virtual NVH testing replace physical testing?

In my opinion, some form of physical testing will always exist, but we can certainly reduce the number of tests required. Virtual NVH testing allows us to evaluate programs much faster, and to evaluate multiple vehicles without the need for any prototypes. In addition, test cars don’t accrue miles, we don’t need drivers and there are no overhead travel costs. All those factors contribute directly to cost savings.

What are the future possibilities for this technology?

One of the most exciting future possibilities with this technology includes linking multiple disciplines inside an organization to further streamline the design and validation process. For example, what if a single simulator could help evaluate both NVH and vehicle dynamics? This would finally put to rest the perpetual struggle between the two. In the future we could even combine ADAS development, ride and comfort evaluations, sound development, and tuning and target development and cascading.

Catch Gary’s presentation “NVH prototyping, target setting, evaluation and experience using a simulator” at the free-to-attend Open Technology Forum. View the full program here

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Illya joined UKi Media & Events in 2018 having completed an Automotive Journalism MA course at Coventry University. As expo news editor, he writes about the new products and technologies that can be found at UKi Media & Events' many exhibitions, as well as contributing to UKi's various magazines and websites.

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