From 16 to 20 March at CeBIT in Hanover, the world’s largest trade fair for information technology, Daimler Trucks will for the first time present “Ergonomics Simulation in Trucks” as part of the ARVIDA project (Applied Reference Architecture for Virtual Services and Applications).
The goal is to address the ergonomic needs of the truck driver at an early stage in the development process of a truck cab. The cab of a truck such as the Mercedes-Benz Actros is a place where the driver works, lives and sleeps. Early on in the development of a new truck, therefore, the engineers at Mercedes-Benz use virtual tools to check how simple it is to climb into the cab, whether all the necessary controls are within easy reach and how convenient the driver’s bed is to access.
Daimler AG is collaborating on this project with the Institute for Mechatronics in Chemnitz, Human Solutions Assyst GmbH in Kaiserslautern and Advanced Realtime Tracking (ART) in Weilheim (Upper Bavaria). A total of 22 partners from research and industry are involved in the various sub-projects of ARVIDA, which is funded by the German Federal Ministry for Research and Industry (BMBF).
Tracking scene with Mercedes-Benz Actros in exhibition hall 9
At CeBIT, together with its three partners Daimler will demonstrate the virtual tracking scene “Climbing into the cab” on an Actros truck at the BMBF stand in Hall 9.
For this purpose, a test person will be fitted with around 60 optical markers to supply data on every movement. Afterwards, visitors can look over the shoulders of the development engineers as they process and evaluate the data.
“We will present our latest project status at CeBIT,” explains project manager Roland Stechow from Cab Development at Daimler Trucks. His goal for when the project comes to an end in 2016: to have virtual 3D ergonomics analyses of motion sequences available as early as the concept development phase of a vehicle.
RAMSIS – basic software for ergonomics simulation
The developers are currently using software called RAMSIS (computer-aided anthropometric-mathematical system for occupant simulation). RAMSIS simulates a model of a human, although it is not yet able to show movements. It can be used at present on a CAD construction to analyse accessibility, available space, comfort, various fields of vision as well as belt routing.
According to Richard Sauerbier, who works in ergonomics research at Daimler, there is a need to develop this previously static system further: “Compared with a passenger car, studies into the ergonomics of a truck cover a much wider spectrum. Movements inside the truck, such as lying, standing or opening of stowage compartments, represent a major challenge – not to mention the complex process of climbing in and out using several steps and grab handles.”
Even though numerous ergonomics studies are now available for every truck cab from Daimler, each new development requires new and complex ergonomics analyses.
To date, therefore, special, real, actual-size cab mock-ups have been built in the test workshops to study new motion sequences. These are used by up to 50 test persons to analyse the individual motion sequences – from the 95 percentile male, i.e. only five percent of all males are taller, to the 5 percentile female, i.e. only five percent of all females are shorter. It takes several months from construction of the model to evaluation of the data.
Future ergonomics simulation: greater design freedom as early as the concept phase
In future, such studies will be possible with just a few mouse clicks in a virtual vehicle, the so-called digital mock-up (DMU). For this purpose, various additional digital motion sequences are created, processed and segmented as logical, manipulable sub-units. This results in individual modules that are archived. Using a motion configurator, several of these modules are combined into new synthetic motion sequences and adapted (simulation). A thus created, complete scene is loaded into the virtual vehicle environment and linked with its environment. This makes it possible to realistically simulate any desired movements.
Motion sequences created in the lab guarantee fast analysis results
By the final stage of the ARVIDA project, so many movement modules will be stored in a pool that it will be possible to generate any desired, realistic human motion sequences from them in the lab for the purposes of new ergonomics analyses.
According to Project manager Stechow: “This will not only speed up the process of vehicle design, but it will also give us greater design freedom in all Virtual Reality studies.”
Source: Daimler AG