Siemens has developed a new Simcenter software solution that can help tackle challenges associated with design of autonomous electric vehicles .

The company is positioning it as the industry’s first comprehensive, easy-to-use solution with the capability to address major, thermal-driven challenges associated with AEV design, like extending the range of an electrified vehicle, optimizing in-cabin comfort, design of the sensors and ensuring the reliability of all autonomous drive systems.

Commenting on the new solution, Ian Riches, executive director, Automotive Practice for Strategy Analytics said that he expects the vast majority of autonomous vehicles in the future to have electrified powertrains. Consumers will prefer vehicles made by OEMs with features like trusted AD performance, long drive range per charge and optimal in-cabin experiences in the new era of mobility. Software like the Simcenter solution from Siemens is perfect for use by OEMs and suppliers to make their vehicles stand out in the competitive AEV markets of the future.

For designing successful AEVs, automotive engineers need to cater to a wide range of interdependent requirements. Many factors need to be taken into consideration like the performance of sensor fusion boxes and a wide range of sensors. These sensors and other AD systems need to be designed in a precise and correct manner so that the vehicle provides consumers with safe autonomous drive functionality. Another factor that needs to be taken into account is that the thermal and power loads of the vehicle’s high-performance AD systems can affect the electric drive range, reducing it by as much as 35 percent. Machine driving behavior and in-cabin passenger comfort requirements can also affect the efficiency of the vehicle’s electric powertrain energy efficiency and its drive range. To develop AEVs successfully, efficient, co-dependent thermal design of AD electronics ranging from the ICs and vehicle integration, to design of the electric powertrain and cabin design plays a key part.

Siemens’ new thermal simulation solution is delivered as part of the Simcenter range and is the first such solution in the industry that has been designed specifically to help design engineers overcome these challenges. It leverages information-rich computational fluid dynamics (CFD) technology for mainstream automotive engineers, so that they can generate highly accurate thermal digital twin simulations of the powertrain, processors, sensors and other key enabling technologies powering next-generation AEV designs.

Other new capabilities include co-simulation of component thermal and electric powertrain performance, connectivity between simulation of electric motor performance and system simulation for electrical and thermal management, and design space exploration using thermal digital twin models. Another notable feature of the Simcenter solution includes seamless connectivity to electronic design automation tools and CAD design platforms. Thus, engineers can easily account for design co-dependencies across electronic, electrical and mechanical domains from the earliest stages of development.

“Creating successful first-generation AEVs will require the intelligent integration of thermal, mechanical and electrical design – a capability that Siemens is uniquely qualified to deliver,” said Jan Leuridan, senior vice-president of Simulation and Test Solutions at Siemens PLM.

“Our new Simcenter thermal design solution addresses electrification and autonomous vehicle functionality, allowing design teams to create virtual prototypes with ease and accuracy for optimal design efficiency. This new solution provides a significant competitive advantage for our customers who can now design safer, more reliable AEVs with confidence.”

The solution Siemens developed for design-centric thermal simulation comprises a Simcenter FLOEFD software for electronics as well as an electric powertrain thermal simulation within native CAD environment, Simcenter Motorsolve software for designing electric motors, and unparalleled component design to 1D system thermal design co-simulation with 1D CFD Simcenter Flomaster software. Simens is planning to make this solution available from October 2018.

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