Would you buy this eco car?

By Jonathan

Well would you?

If it were more expensive to buy than your current car whilst having less power and were less capable of driving long distances, I’m not sure I would.

Producing the eco car that you the customer wants at a competitive price is probably the biggest challenge facing the automotive industry today and for the foreseeable future. But first of all what is the eco car?

The obvious one is a car that pumps out less tailpipe emissions (PM, HC, NOx, CO, CO²) whilst burning less fossil fuels. The auto manufacturers have lots of technologies available today to do this (see my previous blog post), such as: making the car lighter, efficient engine ancillaries (climate control compressor, alternator, electric water & oil pumps, etc.), energy recovery from braking, engine downsizing, electro-magnetic valve actuation, variable compression ratio, etc. The fuel efficiency gain can be from 20% up to 40% – all using today’s technologies based on the good old internal combustion engine.

The not so obvious ones are a car that can be fully & easily dismantled at the end of its life for 100% recycling, or a car made of materials that are fully compliant to health and safety regulations, or a car that needs less energy and creates less pollutants to manufacture, calculation of the car’s carbon footprint, to name but a few…

In other words “a car that can meet your mobility needs while preserving the environment now and for the indefinite future,” wow that’s hot stuff!

How can Dassault Systèmes help the Automotive Industry in these challenging times?

Let’s look at an example and see what we’ve got…

Today, minimising fuel consumption and emissions is heavily dependent on correctly controlling the engine, i.e. managing the energy consumed versus the energy needed to move the car and drive the ancillaries. The tens of thousands lines of control code in the engine’s ECU are today created by a long development process (6 engine calibration engineers are needed for 1 design engineer!) where cars have to be taken to extreme climates to verify that they start, accelerate, control emission correctly…basically reproducing as many real life conditions as possible.

But what about simulating these conditions and modelling the behaviour of the mechanical and electrical systems in the car (e.g. thermal & mechanical inertia) in your offices, allowing the vast majority of the code to be created without going to Alaska?

Well, this is exactly what we’re starting to show with CATIA Systems Engineering Software at one of our preferred Automotive customers…imagine the time and effort saved to get your product to the market and the quality gained by being able to re-use the behaviour models from one system to another!

Stay tuned for more examples…

What do you think is important for the Automotive Industry to build the eco car of the future?

Thanks, Jonathan

SolidWorks World 2009 recap

By Matthew

SolidWorks World 2009 has been over for more than a week now, but it feels like everyone here is still recovering and getting caught up. There’s so much activity squeezed into three days that it takes a little time to process. This year we had over 4300 attendees, which is amazing in light of the current economy. As Jeff Ray said on-stage, we were expecting 3500 if we were lucky.

If you couldn’t make it, here are a few of the highlights:

  • Listening to Sir Richard Branson talkabout the need to innovate and be creative. It was obvious that he didn’t have any kind of pre-rehearsed script he was reading off, and it’s obvious that he loves what he does, and really wants to make the world better. Jeff Ray told me later that day that when he was alone in a car with Sir Richard on the way to a press conference, all Sir Richard could talk about was an incubator Jeff had shown made from car parts, and how he wanted to get it over to Africa so they can start saving more lives.
  • Learning about all of the ways our customers and partners are getting creative in order to survive the current economic cycle. It was like technological Darwinism in action–adapt and survive.
  • Watching Jon Hirschtick give a lesson in Blackjack to 15-20 customers in his room. Everyone had a great time, and Jon proved to be an amazing storyteller and teacher at the same time.
  • Watching the people rush into the general session hall every morning, getting up front as fast as they could.
  • Getting to see Jeff ride a small pink scooter in circles around a very large Sumo wrestler.

My biggest regret is that my schedule never allowed me to check out the partner pavilion to see what people are doing with the software. I hear there were several motorcycles and even an armored military vehicle there.

If you’re interested in seeing what went on, you’re in luck, because the event got beaucoup coverage. You can check out the SolidWorks World 2009 Flickr group, read updates from various bloggers (I counted 80 entries over four days), and watch video coverage on our own blog.

And don’t believe me about the pink scooter and the Sumo? Watch this!


Gaming and PLM facing similar challenges? Part 3

By Virgile

One of the challenges faced by both worlds is to be able to prototype and iterate on ideas pretty fast. This requires to adapt to new techniques and new tools.

  • On the one hand, video game developers are able to build amazing interactive 3D games on consumer devices. You look at some of these games and think: wow, these guys are super sharp in building both technologies (if they use middleware, they’ll usually say they re-wrote everything anyway) and beautiful art and gameplay. Yet, they widely suffer during the production process, spend millions of dollars to get to the level they targeted, and usually struggle to generate new intellectual properties and kill game projects before it’s too late.

  • On the other hand, PLM actors master designing products virtually and create “interactive reviews”, with a whole bunch of software technologies with high-class, real-time rendering features like RTT and Opticore, or sometimes 3DVIA Virtools. These industrials have for the most part clearly understood the value of creating virtual design first. However, only a few other them, as far as I know, have moved to the next wave: making a much more interactive review, involving many kind of experiences. They clearly have to move forward in order to extend the research field.

Using the same techniques and/or technologies?

You got my point, now please take a look at what my friend Martijn Steinrucken, concept designer at Electronic Arts said a few months ago at the Dassault Systemes Developer Conference (DevCon).

Part 1 is about the history of video games and where we are now. For those who are already familiar with this industry, I suggest to fast forward to the end segment or directly to the second video;

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Part 2 is about a key pain chain of the video game industry: how to convince people about your ideas and projects.

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So, does this ring a bell? If you get rid of the fancy looks of the characters involved in the presentation, I guess this translates well to PLM issues.

P.S. If you missed the beginning of my Gaming-PLM series, here are my previous posts:

From Building Products to Experiences: Can Gaming Technologies Help? Part 1

Gaming Technologies & PLM? Part 2


Beyond PLM (Product Lifecycle Management), Dassault Systèmes, the 3D Experience Company, provides business and people with virtual universes to imagine sustainable innovations. 3DSWYM, 3D VIA, CATIA, DELMIA, ENOVIA, EXALEAD, NETVIBES, SIMULIA and SOLIDWORKS are registered trademarks of Dassault Systèmes or its subsidiaries in the US and/or other countries.