R&D simulator centre opens in UK


A GB£2m new research and development centre that features an advanced vehicle simulator has opened in Hethel, Norfolk. Ansible Motion’s all-new facility at the Hethel Engineering Centre will be used to develop and showcase simulation technologies. The facility features Ansible Motion’s new Delta series simulator with a six degrees of freedom motion system, powered by 16 5GHz computers, with five projectors offering a frame rate that is five times faster than a cinema, projecting a 240 degree wrap around view on an 8m screen. The R&D Centre also features a full control room to monitor up to 300 channels of data, separate viewing gallery and secure conference rooms.

Founded in 2009, Ansible Motion designs and builds ‘Driver-in-the-Loop’ simulators for vehicle manufacturers and motorsport engineers to develop and test vehicles. Ansible Motion focuses on ‘engineering-class’ simulators that can be used to validate safety vehicle systems, sign off vehicle settings and in motorsport, where the company has already supplied one F1 team, to define aero, gearbox and suspension settings, as well as lap time prediction.

“Simulators such as the Delta series in our new R&D Centre offer vehicle manufacturers a no-compromise method to reduce development costs and time,” says Kia Cammaerts, founder of Ansible Motion. “Using our simulator has cut the validation time from 10 days to just three for an Electronic Stability Control programme for one particular car maker. Apply those kinds of savings in cost and time across the whole car and it explains why we are now getting more and more enquiries from global OEMs to see what our simulator can do. This R&D Centre will enable automotive engineers to assess how our simulator performs and it also serves as an internal development resource to ensure our simulators, built here in Norfolk, remain at the leading edge of this invaluable technology.”

Ansible Motion’s simulator has taken a very different approach in its design and build, featurin a light and compact platform. With a strong emphasis on getting the driver to engage in a realistic way with the simulator, Ansible Motion states that it ‘focussed on creating an immersive experience by embedding a model of the human vestibular system in the software, and eschewed the usual hexapod machine architectures to ensure the most realistic vehicle motion’.

“Experienced drivers feel the difference straight away when they drive this simulator,” explains Cammaerts. “We were inspired to open our R&D Centre to visitors so rather than just tell people about how different our approach is, they can come here and actually experience it. One recent European OEM visitor with significant experience with other simulators was stunned by the realism of our simulator. We know that climbing aboard and having a drive is the best way for someone to experience the Ansible Motion difference, so we are pleased to be able to allow this peak behind the curtain at our R&D Centre.”

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