Considering the importance of researches and innovation in car industry, Saipa group has taken actions to set up Automotive Industries Researches and Innovation Center of Saipa through direct investment since 1993. This center was established with the aim of offering services to car industry and was officially utilized after building administrative, workshop, and laboratorial spaces; buy and installing hardware and software equipment in 1997.
This center has been constructed in two separate sites consisting of the administrative, modelling workshop, machine tool, mechanic assemble and pollution laboratories, road test, CMM, non-destructive hit, sound and modal lab, and atmospheric conditions test lab buildings, and has been successful at offering a complete package of services of product design and development, define and execution of research projects and performing different TA and COP tests on the automobile and parts and also providing various engineering and educational services at the level of car industry. At the present moment, considering the existing potentials and investments done in laboratorial sections, this center is regarded as the most equipped laboratorial unit in the country.
Automotive Industries Researches and Innovation Center of Saipa is at the beginning of the products development chain as the driving engine of the group in realization of the group’s goals; having established the required substructures, this center has enhanced its potentials and abilities for performing product development plans of the group and has fixed its position as the leader of product development projects especially in the section of sedan cars.
The start point of product development process in deputy department of engineering and design of Saipa researches center, is to formulate product strategies as the key factor in order to guarantee the success of automobile sale. The main basis of these strategies is to define a product with the possibility of existence in global markets along with consideration of an appropriate combination of different models on a same platform through creation of intelligent and distributing specifications of Saipa brand in the customer’s eye.
Upon consideration of the forgoing factors, exact investigations have formed in order to define the product including the legal requirements and customer needs which are completed with performing technical and economic analysis of the rival automobiles. Innovation and making distinction in the product while performing this process, have always been considered by the experts and through an exact translation of product definition into engineering parameters, the product specifications for advancing car design activities will be specified.
Then, applying a future based approach, the design of automobile style as the first step of design activities are started by creating the initial ideas in the form of two-dimensional images (sketch) form the internal and external views of the car, and after choosing the final idea, the three-dimensional model of car style (CAS Model) is prepared. Using tools such as Virtual Reality, manufacturing Clay Model in different scales, the finalization stages of car appearance are completed and converting the approved model to a Class A model and manufacturing Master Model, the car style process becomes finalized.
In line with car style process, the concept design of automobile is performed in other departments of design and engineering deputy department. At the beginning of this process performing the required feasibilities based on the design standards leads to a complete map in which the passengers’ ergonomics measures have been specified besides locating different components of the car platform. The engineers of design departments start to find appropriate solutions for achieving the product’s defined features by feasibility of car’s main sections on this map.
Providing creative engineering solutions in the phase of concept has always been considered by the designers and making use of tools such as Benchmarking in the modern cars of the world and using the previous designs experiences (in the form of DFME method) along with applying powerful and up-to-date software of design and analysis (CAD/CAE), are the main basis of realization of this aim. Partnership of manufacturers and engineers of production process makes choosing the best solution from among the existing options possible for the designer and finally upon completion of all the required feasibilities and providing the initial three-dimensional files, moving through from concept design stage to detail design stage takes place.
At the detail design, designing the details of the entire parts of car are completed based on the approved concept and by doing complete simulations in the virtual space such as performing safety, stability, vibrating, aerodynamic analysis etc. achieving quality goals and necessities of the design are reviewed and verified; additionally, by developing a virtual model for the entire car, all stages of collection are simulated in production lines and the probable problems are recognized and resolved. Using the facility of designing parts and system as parametric in CATIA software at this stage, the possibility of applying immediate changes and optimization of design is created.
Performing the virtual simulations causes a remarkable decrease in time of design and prevention from applying costly changes at final phases of the project. After passing the foregoing stages, three-dimensional models and two-dimensional maps of car are distributed for the purpose of designing the tools required for manufacturing the product and production of the prototype cars.
At the final step, verification process of the product is performed doing scheduled tests on tentative cars at different stages, assuring the conformity of design with legal requirements and the specified quality goals; and the required licenses for mass production are obtained from the legal authorities.
Receiving customer’s feedback for the manufactured product and establishing knowledge based structures for promotion of car design in accordance with global trend in deputy department of engineering and design of Saipa researches center, are always considered as the key factor towards achieving customer satisfaction.
Today, applying modern technologies in car manufacturing has converted into a necessity for the world car manufacturers. More strictness of the legal necessities on the one hand, and enhancement of customers’ expectation level, on the other, has lead the car manufacturer companies to perform expansive planning for develop and implementing the advanced technologies with the aim of acquiring more quota from market. Hence, considering the outlook of Saipa car manufacturing group, and in order to gain the main quota of domestic market and also to appear in the international markets, research and innovation center decided to prepare a plan for developing advanced technologies and applying those technologies in their future products, and supply cars with various welfare facilities, safe and environmentally friendly cars to its respectable customers.
Promoting the cars safety using traditional methods are limited and advancement in this field without using modern technologies are impossible. Compliance with minimum legal standards is considered as the necessary condition for entering the market however, safe cars at the international level have facilities and equipment beyond the compulsory standards. International car manufacturers, due to other reasons such as competitiveness and social responsibilities, are after more and more promotion of car safety and take advantage of the advanced technologies to achieve this. It has been a long time since the non-profit and international institute of Global NCAP, which have 9 franchises all over the world including Europe, USA, Australia, Japan etc., have attempted to test and rank cars safety. This institute ranks cars safety based on the level of safety equipment and hit test results in four domain of Occupant Safety, Child Safety, Pedestrian Safety, and intelligent systems of Safety Assist and releases the assessment results publically in its website. Today, most car manufacturers have their products assessed in such centers before entering the market and put the ranking results in public view as an evidence for their cars safety as well as effective advertising tools in attracting customers.
Over the recent years, the topics related to car structural stability have converted into unsolved problems, in a way that today, most efforts have been concentrated on intelligent systems of driver assistant. Upon consideration of the effective role of such systems in preventing crashes, Euro NCAP institute has had a special attention to this issue as to the future cars will not gain accreditation from Euro NCAP tests if they would not be equipped with systems such as Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB)- Lane Departure Warning System (LDWS)- Intelligent Speed Adaptation (ISA), and some other advanced systems. Saipa Group Researches Center intends to take an essential step towards its respectable customers’ safety by applying these technologies in the future cars.
Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) intelligently prevents car crashes when faced with obstacles due to drive’s carelessness, sleepiness or distraction. The operation of this system consist of two main stages of warming and prevention from crash. At the stage of Forward Collision Warning (FCW) the system’s sensors (camera/radar) detect the opposite obstacles and whenever there is a danger of crash they alert the driver via a vocal or visual alarm. In the event the driver does not pay attention to the alarm or brake on time, the system would automatically stop the car to avoid a collision. The operation process of this system are shown in figure 2. According to the classification done by Euro NCAP institute, different types of Autonomous Emergency Braking include: AEB City, AEB Interurban, AEB Pedestrian and AEB Cyclist.
According to the performed researches, it is predicted that installing this system will become mandatory for all modern sedan cars in the European market by 2020. Prior to this, installing AEB system has become mandatory for business cars since 2014 according to the regulations of EU.
The types of AEB City and AEB Interurban from the viewpoint of the used sensor and type of detectable collision have identical operations. AEB City is used for low speeds within urban limits while AEB Interurban is usable for high speeds in autobahns and roads.
Sensors usable in AEB City are mainly of the short board radar type and its board and viewing angle, depending on the manufacturer company, are 60 m and 60 ᵒ respectively, from the car frontage. Therefore, AEB City is more appropriate for speeds lower than 50 km/h and can detect collision in quite a wide viewing distance. Sensors usable in this type of system, have merely the ability to detect a four-wheel vehicle and fails to detect other objects such as a pedestrian, bicycle vehicles, tree, animals and road guardrails.
Sensors usable in AEB Interurban are mainly of the long board radar type and its board and viewing angle, depending on the manufacturer company, are 200 m and 20 ᵒ respectively. Due to longer board of AEB Interurban system, it can be used for speeds higher than 200 km/h. however, because of lower viewing angle, they are not appropriate to be used in crowded urban areas. In new generation of radar sensors, sensor angel and board are adaptive to speed up the vehicle and it can be used for both city and interurban purposes. AEB Interurban, like AEB City, merely has the ability to detect four-wheel vehicles.
The radar sensor is normally situated behind the grille next to the front arm. Often, a filming camera is used for enhancing the system accuracy and reliability. In such case, radar and camera data are combined together via data fusion method and the reliability coefficient of system performance is increased. This camera is normally installed on the back of windshield next to the rear mirror. Although installing camera for these two types of system are not mandatory, however since these cameras can be used for other safety systems and driver assist (such as lane departure warning systems, traffic signs detection, pedestrian detection etc.) using them in different types of autonomous braking systems are common.
AEB Pedestrian and AEB Cyclist are categorized as safety systems for vulnerable road users. Thus, they are also known as the general topic of Vulnerable Road Users AEB VRU. Taking advantage of the camera installed behind the front windshield and image processing methods, AEB Pedestrian and AEB Cyclist systems detect the type of object (pedestrian or bicycle vehicles) and if the driver fails to react immediately, the system will automatically apply the brakes. The used cameras may be either Mono or Stereo. If the system is equipped with a Stereo camera (i.e. two cameras with specified distance next to each other), the system will also have the ability to measure the depth of objects. Although the radar has no high detection ability in separating the type of barriers, however due to the system accuracy in measuring distances and not being affected by atmospheric conditions, the combination of camera and radar data are often used for increasing system accuracy. The camera board and angle vary depended on the type of used camera. But in ordinary types of these systems, image resolution is so high that up to 40 m distant objects can be well-accurately detected. The more advanced and costly type of such cameras, having so high resolution, can also detect barriers up to 500 m distance.
Adaptive Cruise Control System keeps the car speed at the value adjusted by the driver. Hence parts of the performance of this system are the same as that of Cruise Control System; the difference is that Adaptive Cruise Control System detects the facing cars and objects with the help of sensor situated at the front of the car and, if necessary, reduces the car speed to the intelligent speed. If there is no barrier in front of the car, the system once again increases the speed at the previously adjusted level by the driver. Usually a safe time distance with the front car is already adjusted by the driver. The default value is nearly 2 seconds and the driver can lower or raise it based on the traffic and atmospheric conditions. Depending on the board of sensors and the algorithm used, this system is of three different types:
Having advanced and unique laboratories in the middle east, Automotive Industries Research and Innovation Center of Saipa is known as one of the competent authorities in the country in the field of quality verification of the manufactured cars. These laboratories have the ability to perform remarkable number of car tests at the stage of type approval (TA) or conformity of production (COP), which are providing various services for different industries and car manufacturing companies.
Laboratorial services provided by Automotive Industries Research and Innovation Center of Saipa are as follows:
The ability to perform all the related tests at the level of automotive parts including:
Atmospheric condition laboratory which is unique in its type in the middle east, and is equipped with environmental condition chambers controlling different climate conditions to perform automotive test in different physical and atmospheric conditions.
Generally, thermal topics to be reviewed in automotive industry can be classified into the following general titles:
Simulating five air variables of temperature, moisture, sun radiation, wind speed, and road loud, this laboratory has the ability to create real environmental conditions for the car and can measure the car ability in such fields according to the current standards and methods.
The tests possible to be carried out are as follows: