Engineering the future of automotive innovations
Updated: Feb 22
In the eye of the storm
The auto sector is caught in the eye of a storm – this might be an understatement given what the industry has been through the last couple of years. First, it was the pandemic lockdown that disrupted supply chains and demands in global markets. Post lockdown, there was a pent-up demand, and then the chip shortage.
Just as the auto sector started emerging from these issues, the geopolitical situation led to the rise in commodity prices and fuel, against the backdrop of a looming economic recession. As a result, customer preferences started shifting towards fuel-efficient EVs and hybrids.
Safety and regulatory compliance added yet another complexity to the mix. In India, for example, car manufacturers were mandated to add extra seat bags for rear seat passengers when a high-profile crash killed the ex-Chairman of Tata Sons.
Automotive manufacturers face a complex and ever-changing landscape, with the added pressures to innovate, address environmental concerns, and yet remain competitive.
In long production cycles in a capex-intensive industry like auto, engineering optimization during the product development stage is crucial. Under-optimized products can lead to failures and recalls, not only impacting profitability but also resulting in significant brand erosion.
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To meet these challenges, it is essential to bring together diverse engineering expertise to efficiently tackle complex applications for faster production and reduced time to market.
Simultaneous multi-physics, multidiscipline simulations could be the key for automotive designers to test and develop innovative features. Accurate, realistic simulations with accelerated computing could help expedite the design, development, and production of vehicles.
This is a faster and more cost-effective way to enhance aerodynamics, EV efficiency, battery management systems, safety features, and fuel efficiency among other innovations.
Retaining the competitive edge while battling the storm
While simulation can achieve innovations, it can often be time-consuming and costly, as it requires high computational power for complex engineering, and not all variables can be tested.
Simulations powered by Quantum Computing can plug this gap by accelerating the most computationally heavy part of simulations, drastically reducing the time and cost factor during the product development phase and providing more accurate and realistic solutions, than is possible with traditional high-powered computing (HPC) alone.
Quantum-powered simulations could be used in a multitude of ways to optimize vehicle performance and innovate rapidly at scale, not possible before.
Driving innovations with Better Simulations powered by Quantum
a. Enabling Next-Gen EVs and Hybrids
Engineering simulations for advanced and new EV automotive body structures need to be both accurate and fast in order to improve safety and reliability.
For new Battery Electric Vehicle (BEV) platforms in EV, design simulations performed on Quantum Computers can explore multiple critical designs simultaneously. This will speed up future EV design cycles and can produce reinforced structures to protect heavy batteries and passengers.
Fast, accurate, and higher-fidelity of simulations with quantum processors can help in other areas such as
● Exploring EV battery chemical reactions for high-quality cells
● Research & development of new battery materials for future EV
● Simulating battery management systems (BMS) for better performance and safety
● Better thermal management – future CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) solution to “Thermal Runway” problems
Simulation of combined power output in Hybrid cars -
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Designing a Hybrid powertrain (combined power system of a combustion engine, electric motor, and electric generator) requires critical computation and simulation for balancing combined outputs.
For well-balanced outputs of power, performance, and efficiency - simulation plays a significant role where Quantum CAE tools can bring the next level of innovation for hybrid vehicles.
b. Building safer cars with Crash tests and safety parameters
With growing safety concerns, simulation tests can include safety parameters such as durability, crash test, and crumple zones. These complex automotive crash tests take a long time for prototyping and test in real environments. Simulations powered by Quantum computing can accelerate crash behavior analyses in separate phases, reducing production time and resources spent on multiple design iterations, retooling, and producing multiple physical prototypes for extreme conditions
Other use cases could be to simulate operations and performances of airbags using finite element and biomechanics methods that can reduce injury during accidents in vehicles
Even with specific combinations of algorithms, quantum computers can simulate vehicle Drop tests for the next level of security and safety standards with lower costs
c. Integrating innovative Advanced Driver Assistance Systems (ADAS) with Simulations
Advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) will be one of the most in-demand and exciting features that will drive innovations in the automotive sector.
Simulation can enable different scenarios for ADAS systems for demonstration, calibration & analysis. They can also be used for performance validation and verification of the ADAS software without real sensor outputs.
This advanced technology can simulate multiple traffic scenarios simultaneously with many engine parameters for estimating possible breaking and controlling situations. Accordingly, high-fidelity and accurate results will enable better ADAS integration in vehicles.
d. Differentiate with better Design for aesthetics and efficiency
Today’s automotive design landscape needs less body weight and higher strength of automotive structures with better aerodynamics.
Quantum – CAE simulation software can solve deep-level challenges such as CFD solver robustness, scalability with multiple numbers of variables, and efficient and accurate gradient computations.
Multiple Design optimizations can be explored simultaneously with accelerated computing and the same set of resources resulting in better productivity and cost efficiency.
Simulations with a Hybrid approach integrating Classical - Quantum for better results
Current Quantum computing tech is in the NISQ (noisy intermediate-scale quantum) era. Hardware improvements are needed for scalability and successful application of technology with fewer computational errors.
However, a hybrid approach to computation with a combination of quantum and classical can open new possibilities for companies in the automotive industry.
Hybrid platforms can benefit the industry in multiple ways. It can use classical high-performance computers for data processing and NISQ computers for tackling complex computational tasks. Advanced Quantum algorithms (quantum-inspired algorithms) can run on classical platforms will significantly benefit the companies rather than waiting for hardware to be ready for industry-specific use cases.
Tech trends such as the industrial internet of things, artificial intelligence, electrification of vehicles, and the autonomy movement will drive the need for expanded use of simulation. Multi-scale, multi-disciplinary simulations powered by quantum can be a strategic lever for the auto industry to reduce production costs, and failures and reduce time to market to create a differentiated product, essential for incumbents and disruptors alike.