Fietzek, R. and Rinderknecht, S., "Car-in-the-Loop Complete Vehicle Test Rig," SAE Int. J. Passeng. Cars - Mech. Syst. 8(2):476-481, 2015, doi:10.4271/2015-01-0647.
During the last years mechatronic systems developed into one of the biggest drivers of innovation in the automotive industry. The start of production of systems like dual clutch transmission, lane departure warning systems and active suspensions proves this statement. These systems have an influence on the longitudinal, steering and vertical dynamics of the vehicle. That is why the interaction on vehicle level is crucial for an optimal result in the fields of efficiency, comfort, safety and dynamics. To optimize the interaction of mechatronic systems, in this paper a new test rig concept for a complete vehicle is presented. The so-called Car-in-the-Loop-concept is capable of realistically reproducing the loads, which act on the powertrain, the steering and the suspension during a test drive. The resulting advantages are the possibility to exactly reproduce test procedures, the independence from weather conditions and a minimization of the risk of human injuries during testing of safety functions. A prototype of this concept, which includes parts of the powertrain, the steering and the chassis corresponding to the left front side of a BMW Mini Countryman, was built at the lab of the Institute for Mechatronic Systems in Mechanical Engineering of the TU Darmstadt. A test rig shaft connects the wheelhub of the BMW Mini Countryman to actuators, which generate realistic loads corresponding to the current driving situation. To provide the needed adaptiveness for the steering and suspension movement constant velocity joints and ball-spline supported length compensations are included in the test rig shaft. A highly dynamic test drive is being reproduced on the prototype to prove the functionality of the Car-in-the-Loop-concept.