Mechatronics integration for a vehicle simulator.
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This dissertation presents the research and integration of a mechatronics system to be used in a vehicle simulator. The vehicle simulator is comprised of a 3-DOF platform which is used to provide motion cues to the driver. Kinematic analysis is performed on the 3-DOF system and this analysis assists in implementing platform motion control. To recreate the motion sensations experienced in an actual vehicle while respecting the platform workspace limits the classical washout algorithm is implemented in the vehicle simulator. A novel simulation system was contributed in Matlab/Simulink to aid in vehicle simulator design. This simulation setup incorporates all the motion cueing aspects; these aspects include input vehicle data scaling, the classical washout algorithm and inverse kinematic analysis. The developed simulation system was used to adjust the motion cueing parameters to ensure motion that respects the actuator motion constraints. These constraints ensure the vehicle simulator is operated safely. A second contribution used the developed simulation system in Matlab/Simulink and the human vestibular system models. A performance evaluation was performed on the 3-DOF system against the traditional 6-DOF system. The results highlight the benefits of the 3-DOF system in replication of certain motion cues. Software was developed to receive input game data and output actuator stroke lengths to the motion control system. Limitations in the motion control system were found when testing was done on the vehicle simulator. These limitations led to a modified partial 2-DOF vehicle simulator. The motion control hardware is able to replicate actuator motion well. The final vehicle simulator system is a partial 2-DOF system that provides visual and motion cues that create a realistic driving experience. The developed system is suitable for applications with cost constraints and reasonable performance requirements.