Due to a lack of suitable analysis tools, automotive engineers are often forced to forego quantitative optimization early in the development process, when fundamental decisions establishing vehicle architecture are made. This lack of tools arises because traditional analysis models require detailed geometric descriptions of components and assembly joints in order to yield accurate results, but this information is simply not available early in the development cycle. Optimization taking place later in the cycle usually occurs at the detail design level, and tends to result in expedient solutions to performance problems that might have been more effectively addressed at the architecture level. Alternatively, late-cycle architecture changes may be imposed, but such modifications are equivalent to a huge optimization cycle covering almost the entire design process, and require discarding the detail design work used originally as the basis of the NVH model. Optimizing at the architecture level can both shorten and improve the results of a vehicle development process. In this paper we describe the requirements and implementation of a user interface for a software package supporting vehicle architecture conceptual design and analysis.

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