Understanding Virtual Prototyping and Its Pros and Cons
A virtual prototype, often referred to as a digital mock-up, is a software simulator of a tangible object that may be exhibited, reviewed, and tested as if it were a genuine physical model, including design/engineering, production, servicing, and recycling.
The technique of building and assessing a virtual prototype is known as virtual prototyping (VP). Virtual prototyping has advanced in past decades as a realistic and accurate computer-based simulator of systems to enhance the design and, in some situations, to substitute the physical model to save time and finances.
According to BIS Research, the electric vehicle virtual prototyping market produced revenue of $407.6 million in 2021 and is predicted to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 33.83 % to $5,613.2 million by 2030.
The global electric vehicle virtual prototyping industry is growing due to the rising demand for cost-effective solutions to decrease manufacturing and cost of training and the increasing functionality of electric vehicle virtual prototyping toward sophisticated technology such as augmented reality/virtul reality, digital twins, and 3-dimensional printing.
Prototyping in the Virtual Realm
Virtual prototyping (VP) is a software-based engineering approach that entails modeling, simulation, and visualizing a system’s behavior under real-world operational circumstances and iteratively revising its design.
Rapid prototyping is progressively being replaced with VP. VP does not create a physical product for test and evaluation. Instead it does these operations in a computer, as the name indicates.
Automotive, yellow products, shipbuilding, aircraft, oil and gas, transportation, and defense are among the industries that use VP.
VP enables engineering groups to create, evaluate, and convincingly mimic virtual prototypes on their desktops, both visually and numerically. Before producing a genuine hardware prototype, the full-motion behavior of complicated mechanical systems may be investigated.
Users may swiftly test and refine many design alternatives till system functionality is maximized. This can reduce the time and expense of developing new products while also enhancing the overall integrity of system designs.
Primary Objectives of Automobile Manufacturers
One of the primary objectives of automotive manufacturing is to improve the designing procedure and create a much more accurate version before building a prototype, which would be costly and sometimes requires numerous iterations before the design is perfect.
An answer to the issue is to use a virtual prototype. One of the main goals of updating design is to improve maneuverability and comfort. Thus the emphasis is on enhancing suspension systems and integrating innovative active suspension systems.
Most active suspension studies have relied on physical mechanisms, with a control strategy being applied to a 1⁄4 car model via simulators. Another option to analyze active suspension is to use hardware on the loop approaches.
Any modifications or enhancements involving the replacement of hardware might be pricey. Acquiring a virtual prototype allows for a complete analysis. It’s simple to experiment with various situations, quickly animate the vehicle’s behavior, and analyze the dynamic consequences when one has a virtual prototype of a comprehensive automobile model.
Pros of Prototyping
- Decreased time and expenses: Prototyping enhances the integrity of the requirements and needs offered to customers, saving time and money. Customers can expect greater expenses, needed adjustments, potential project roadblocks, and, most crucially, potential final product catastrophes with prototyping. Prototyping can secure product quality and cost savings for many years.
- Improved and enhanced user involvement: Most customers want to feel as though they are a part of the operation’s complex aspects. Users must be involved in prototyping because it allows them to view and engage with a functioning model of their idea. Customers may provide instant feedback, request project revisions, and update model requirements using prototypes. Most significantly, prototyping aids in the elimination of misconceptions and misinterpretation during the developmental cycle.
- Enhanced quality: Nothing pleases consumers more than projects that are completed on time and within budget. Prototyping enhances the quality of client needs and specifications. Changes required later in the development process are considerably more expensive to install. Prototyping allows one to figure out what the ultimate consumer wishes sooner and with more affordable technology.
Cons of Prototyping
Unfortunately, no project design model is ideal, except for oxygen with hydrogen equaling water. Before selecting to use prototyping in the proposed project, properly assessing the downsides is a must.
- Inadequate evaluation: Developers may be distracted from adequately studying the entire project if they focus on a narrow prototype. The ultimate result: Stronger alternatives may be overlooked, requirements may be insufficient, or constrained prototypes may be converted into inadequately designed and created finished projects that are difficult to manage.
- Ambiguity among users: The worst-case situation for any prototype is that it is mistaken for the final product. Consumers may not realize that a rough prototype has to be completed or refined. Customers may also mistakenly believe that the prototype represents the final study’s validity precisely. Clients may also develop a fondness for prototype characteristics that aren’t included in the finished product.
- Miscommunication of users’ aims by developers: For any project to succeed, developers and users should be on the right path and have the very same goals as the mission. Customers who demand that all prototype features be incorporated in the finished version might cause crew and objective disputes.
- Excess production time: Prototypes are supposed to be built swiftly by their very nature. Suppose a programmer invests too long in constructing a sophisticated prototype. In that case, the project may hit snags (particularly if there are conflicts about prototype specifications) and go beyond the budget in terms of both time and money.
Prototyping is essential for initiatives that necessitate modification, end-user input, and suggestion application. The path of the whole project and its final success are primarily determined by prototyping.
Effective prototyping detects and rectifies errors earlier than they have a detrimental effect on the final product and are irreversibly harmed.