AussieStig Drives The Amazing Cruden 640 HexaPod Simulator
Friend of the house, AussieStig continued his tour of interesting Simulator related visits.
In this episode, AussieStig heads to Amterdam visiting the Dutch Cruden headquarters where he is very privilidged to be able to test drive their professional Cruden HexaPod motion simulator.
The multinational Cruden company, is one of the world’s leading designer, manufacturer, and integrator of professional open architecture driving simulators for the automotive, motorsport and marine industries. The Cruden simulators are trusted for their realism and accuracy, and alow for unlimited repeatable virtual vehicle testing, aiming to significantly reduce vehicle development cost and time.
During his visit, AusieStig had the opportunity to try out the Cruden 6-DOF, driver in the loop, motion-based simulator. We can ride along with AussieStig doing a lap on the virtual Dutch Zandvoort 2020 GP circuit and a lap at the Belgian Spa-Francorchamps track. During the ride, Aussiestig shares his impressions of this spectacular piece of simulation engineering.
Cruden HexaPod Driving Simulator
Cruden’s driving simulators are built around motion systems (Up to 7-DOF) with direct drive force feedback steering systems. From there, a choice of standard top platforms is available, but custom configurations can also be specified by the customer using Cruden’s technology building blocks.
When motion is required, most customers prefer the standard industrial 6-DOF motion bases with either 400 or 640 mm actuator stroke. The Cruden 6-DOF hexapod motion platforms have proven to be very effective in automotive driving simulators and are the basis of many professional automotive, motorsport and military simulator installations over the past 20 years.
The hexapod platform is a renowned and excellent solution for motion systems:
- The parallel kinematic structure and closed-loop system make it very stiff.
- Excellent high dynamic behaviour.
- No accumulation of positions errors, as with cascaded structures.
- Small package with a simple mechanical design, using six identical actuators.
- No moving cables and cable chains.
All Cruden simulators run on the Cruden Panthera software suite, which includes various modules, depending on the application. Panthera integrates perfectly with existing simulator hardware and is also available as a stand-alone desktop application.
Panthera Master is the main module of the simulator system. It times and controls the simulation, performs several monitoring tasks and executes interface liaison tasks for and between modules.
Session Manager is the main GUI for operating the simulator. Operators can set up a simulation by selecting a car, road and vehicle set-up. Once configured, a session can be controlled with a single mouse click for all hard and software modules involved.
Vehicle modelling / ePhyse
Through Panthera ePhyse, external vehicle model packages such as Vi-Grade, IPG CarMaker, veDYNA, CarSim, Dymola, dSPACE ASM or SIMPACK can be integrated into a Cruden simulator. The models run natively, in co-simulation, through their Simulink S-functions or are compiled through Simulink Coder and then run on the Master PC.
Alternatively, Cruden has developed its own highly detailed Simulink Vehicle Model, CSVM, which is an option on every simulator. For start-up, CSVM-Light is available.
Data logging is an SL-block that writes real-time vehicle data to a Cruden proprietary file format. This data can subsequently be converted to either Matlab or ASCII, but can also be read, analyzed and/or post-processed by Panthera’s Telemetry Analyzer.
Panthera SISTer (Server for Interaction with Surfaces & Terrains) determines how the tire contact patch interacts with the road. This can be done either by multisampling with up to 49 intersection queries per wheel, or by driving directly on a dense point set with a spatial density down to 10 mm.
This is done at a frequency of 1000 Hz or higher. This method provides highly improved input to the tire model, resulting in detailed and precise forces and moments plus road-normal calculations, without additional computational costs to the vehicle model. The interaction between the vehicle model and Panthera SISTer has a latency of less than 2 ms.
For off-board projection, Panthera tracks the motion platform position and orientation and adjusts the projected images accordingly. This can also be combined with head and/or eye-tracking.
Warping & Blending
The Panthera software includes a post processing step that allows projecting on arbitrary shaped surfaces. The virtual world is rendered such that it is compensated for the deformation that typically occurs when projecting on nonflat surfaces.
The compensation is derived from physical properties of the projectors, the shape of the projection screen as well as the dynamic position and orientation of the driver’s head. At the same time, an edge blend will be performed to smoothly blend the area where two projections overlap. This results in a seamless image generated by multiple projectors.
Content – Roads, Cars, Tracks, Environment
Cruden creates content, ranging from skid pads, endless highways and test tracks up to full Lidar scanned public roads. It also models customer vehicles from 3D CAD data. The use of full Lidar scanned data provides the most accurate representation of the road surface and environment, from a reassuring bump in the track to the tree that signals a driver’s braking point.
Engineers value Cruden above all, because of its expertise in system integration and overall system know-how. A simulator is a complex mechatronics system, consisting of mechanical, electrical, electronic and sometimes hydraulic components, as well as several software packages.
Cruden designs the complete simulator architecture, including all the components that are integrated into a simulator. This integration, both in the design as well as manufacturing and commissioning phase, is one of the most important and often underestimated factors.
The Dutch Cruden B.V. Company is the world’s leading designer, manufacturer and integrator of professional open architecture driving simulators and simulator software for the automotive, motorsport, marine and motorcycle industries. The company employs 35 people at their Amsterdam, Netherlands, facility, teraining some of the simulation industry’s leading experts.
Cruden supplies flexible, durable, high performing real-time simulators and their modular components:
- Simulator software (Panthera)
- Vehicle models
- 3D content
- Visual & audio systems
Official Webpage – www.cruden.com