All degrees of freedom are not created equally. Layering is where it’s at – What you need to know.
Laminar Motion Technology™
- Higher Frequencies = more responsive
- Lower Profile = more venue options + safer
- Less Weight + regenerative braking = less energy consumed
- Less Energy consumed = happy greens + happy accountant
Feet on the ground or head in the clouds?
After years of working with companies to integrate our then non-motion simulator tech onto their motion platforms we realised that for us to move the experience to a more realistic level we needed to take a root and branch re-think of how the motion was generated. In 2006 we started by looking at how a car actually moves relative to its boundary condition – the Earth. Up to that point and in most cases still, motion platforms are based on how an aircraft moves relative to its boundary condition – thin air.
Apart from landing and taking off you know that the majority of a plane’s movement in flight is up/down (called heave) and some degree of tipping left/right or front/back (roll, pitch). There tends to be constant speed so little feeling of acceleration or deceleration. This is what traditional motion platforms do well – fortunately so as our pilots are trained on them.
Where we started was to look at the fact that a car in the first instance is fixed in terms of its heave, pitch and roll by the solid ground to which its tyres at rest are anchored. The first force when you apply the gas is acceleration and depending on your suspension a degree of pitch. Then typically the next force is a lateral force as you corner with perhaps a bit of roll depending on nature of the vehicle and its anti-roll bars. If you hit a curb or for that matter a wall the first force you feel is deceleration then some heave/pitch/roll depending on the nature of the ‘accident’.
What became clear to us was that in all cases when it came to a car the first forces exerted were in the ‘flat’ planes – longitudinally (called surge) and laterally (sway). Furthermore these forces could easily occur independently; eg. You can accelerate through a bend. The forces of heave/pitch and roll on the other hand were all secondary, the exact opposite of an aeroplane.
Additionally a racing driver feels through their rear end the pivot of the car – understeer or oversteer (called yaw). This is possibly the most critical force for a driver to be able to feel and again can occur independently of the other forces, for example as you accelerate through a bend you might begin to feel the front end go light. The fidelity and purity of those forces are essential for a driver looking to push the edge of the stability envelope, without them, it is just gaming.
The design then of our V1-500 platform started with the first principles of a car’s motion surge, sway and yaw delivered via our independent Laminar system. Layering means no compromise of one motion to deliver another, it means greater refinement, greater optimisation, more control and crucially a fuller more rounded experience. If you know Photoshop you will understand how the simplicity of layering allows the generation of the most complex and detailed images.
But wait a minute, you just said a car has heave, pitch and roll – don’t I need those? – This is where simulation comes into its own. Given the right cues in the right order the brain makes up information based on what it expects. By getting the motion cues in the correct order based on how a car behaves the brain makes the body think, for example, it has jumped up on impact with a curb. The brain combines what your eye is seeing, ears are hearing and the body is feeling in that initial fraction of a second when the car decelerates on hitting the curb. Anybody but an experienced professional would be hard pressed to know that isn’t what actually happened.
So how many DOFs do you need?
Answer – It is not simply a matter of the number of degrees of freedom (DOFs), how those motions are created is what really matters. It is much better to talk in terms of layers of motion and their degree of independence. For most driving applications to professional level, 2 layers is more than enough. For showing off and/or for full on driver in the loop car set up then the 3 layer V2 platform will be necessary.
In Summary then:
Layer 1 handles SURGE, the critical longitudinal acceleration and deceleration forces.
Layer 2 adds the most vital motions for race driving: SWAY and YAW . These lateral acceleration forces are
what the driver experiences during understeer and oversteer conditions.
Layer 3 comprises the HEAVE , PITCH and ROLL available on the V2-500 model.
The Laminar technology allows you to add the 3rd layer to a 2 layer V1 system without having to scrap the existing system. It means your V1 can be upgraded to a V2 for the marginal cost of the additional components at any time in the future.