PTG uses MathWorks tools to analyze track, shaker rig, and simulated data as well as to deploy its tools to customers for further testing.
PTG’s shaker rig includes seven hydraulic actuators, four for road simulation and three that connect to the body of the car to simulate banking, cornering, and aerodynamic loads. “Our shaker rig is a tool for teams to tune vehicle dynamics for their car by adjusting spring and shock parameters,” Sweetland explains. “It’s based on finding the right damping characteristics for a car and investigating how a car will respond when it’s on a track.”
Customers provide recorded track data that measures damper displacement and hub acceleration. PTG engineers bring this data into MATLAB® and use preprocessing tools developed in MATLAB to extract the required data before filtering or resampling the data. The car is installed on the rig and this data is used to develop actuator loads and displacements that recreate the track data.
During shaker rig testing, the engineers use tools developed with MATLAB to analyze and display data in time and frequency domains. They adjust damping parameters of basic car models generated in Simulink® and Deep Learning Toolbox™ until the model simulations match up with the test data. They then use Optimization Toolbox™ with Simulink Design Optimization™ to optimize parameters to obtain the best track performance.
“Developing our applications with MATLAB is very quick,” says Sweetland. “We can concentrate on designing the interface rather than coding and implementing it. We log more than 600 million data points per test day, which are all analyzed with our MATLAB tools.”
Engineers use MATLAB Compiler™ to provide racing teams with tools for further analysis of shaker rig and simulation data. They also use these tools to analyze track test data.
PTG also uses Simulink to model aerodynamic loads that determine proper downforce loads for the actuators. They use Simulink Coder™ to automatically generate C code from the model, which is run in real time on the rig controller. This enables the rig actuators to respond correctly to changes in vehicle attitude.
They plan to use Simulink with Simscape Multibody™ to develop models of complete rig and car systems, enabling them to simulate full tests. “We want to try out new control routines on a virtual model of the rig and car to see how it performs without actually needing the rig and car available,” notes Sweetland. “This will be very beneficial because our facility is 100% booked.”