Bugatti sets new standards in automotive development. High-tech simulator puts Veyron through its paces on the Nürburgring
02/02/2007
The Bugatti Veyron represents the ultimate in technical finesse in the automotive manufacturing. Besides being the world’s fastest factory-built car, it also sets the pace in vehicle development – particularly when it comes to electronics. Even before production began, engineers put the 1001 horsepower speed machine through its paces on the Nürburgring – thanks to high-performance-computer simulation.

Frankfurt am Main, January 30, 2007

This was made possible by the ICT service provider T-Systems, who tested all the electronic components of the exclusive car’s power train.

The high cost of each Veyron means it is simply not commercially viable to build multiple prototypes. By performing simulations on high-performance computers at an early stage of development, Bugatti was able to avoid the expensive production of a number of "real-life" prototypes. Examining electronic components in the lab rather than on the road reduced the time required for testing while enabling more in-depth investigations. The Veyron’s engine management system performs thousands of functions. And that calls for considerably more software than was used in the Apollo space missions.

Hardware in the loop (HIL) simulations enable the Veyron’s developers to test, for example, the entire power train prior to production – from the engine management system through to the brakes. HIL simulations are used to test individual components such as controllers on specially designed rigs. This approach is playing an increasingly important role in car development. Since the late 1990s, the use of electronic components in vehicles has increased dramatically. This means that automakers have to test the interoperability of a growing number of components from different suppliers: a daunting task. Due to considerations of time and cost, conventional – primarily manual – test procedures soon reach their limits. It is no longer possible to master the challenges of this area of automotive electronics without the support of simulators.

The HIL simulator enables testing of every conceivable driving situation: For example, what happens to the brake controller when the power fails? The tool enables auto companies to recreate simple road scenarios, such as driving in a straight line, a circle – or even a high-speed lap of the Nürburgring. The T-Systems experts developed a "test driver" for Germany’s most famous racing circuit. This software program, which can take the Veyron for a virtual spin around the Nürburgring, simulated the toughest of situations – braking and steering while hitting the gas in a bend. Thanks to HIL even scenarios of this kind could be investigated – not only reducing wear and tear on materials, but also safeguarding the psychological and physical health of flesh-and-blood test drivers.

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