Honda’s new simulator will use nine actuators instead of the customary nine (Photo: Honda)

Honda said it will become the first carmaker to adopt a new driving-simulator technology that it says will more accurately reproduce the actual driving experience.

The Japanese carmaker said the simulator will use an architecture called DiM25o, with the acronym standing for driver-in-motion. It uses nine actuators to accurately reproduce vehicle ride, handling and acceleration characteristics.

Honda’s vice president in charge of European R&D, Yasunori Oku, said DiM250 is a “crucial tool” for developing the company’s advanced driver assistance, HMI, powertrain and autonomous driving technologies.

The simulator, which was developed by testing software specialist VI-grade and manufactured by automatic controls company Saginomiya, will be installed at Honda R&D Europe’s technical center in Offenbach, Germany, in the second half of 2018.

will become the world’s first car manufacturer to adopt new state-of-the-art driving simulator technology, based on a revolutionary architecture called DiM250 (Driver-in-Motion).

Most driving simulators make use of motion technology derived from flight simulators, and typically use six actuators to deliver six ‘degrees of freedom’. However, to accurately reproduce vehicle ride, handling and acceleration characteristics within a single simulator, VI-grade’s DiM250 system uses nine actuators to create additional ranges of motion. It is unique in the industry.

Yasunori Oku, Executive Vice President, Honda R&D Europe, said: “We expect to use DiM250 primarily for vehicle dynamics and ride applications, as well as using it as a crucial tool to develop and test our ADAS, HMI, powertrain and autonomous driving technologies earlier in the design process”. “The DiM250 technology will provide an ideal common development platform for our research and development activities, where all teams involved can work together in one single collaborative environment.”

The DiM250 system has been designed by simulator software developer VI-grade, and is engineered and manufactured by automatic controls specialist Saginomiya. Its electrically-driven nine-actuator platform is more advanced than conventional ‘hexapod’ designs, and the whole system moves by sliding on airpads, rather than using additional mechanical rails. The airpads counterbalance the high payloads and dynamic loads, and help to make the simulator extremely stiff, silent and reliable.

The integration of Software-in-loop (SIL) and Hardware-in-loop (HIL) applications within the simulator will enable designers and engineers to evaluate advancements in the vehicle development cycle before physical prototypes have even been built. It will also allow the simulator to more accurately imitate problem scenarios to test safety systems and controls.

Juergen Fett, Managing Director, VI-grade, said, “We are looking forward to a continuous and successful usage of our technology at Honda R&D, helping the company to develop even better cars in a shorter time, while providing us with precious feedback to further improve our driving simulation solutions.”

The new simulator will be installed at Honda R&D Europe’s technical centre in Offenbach, Germany, in the second half of 2018.