15 April 2013

Students collaborate with research and development company

Dominic Cheng, Chris Burns and James Evan

Final year undergraduate students Chris Burns, Dominic Cheng and James Evans have collaborated with Wirth Research for their dissertation project.

Wirth Research is a research and development company, founded by former Simtek Grand Prix owner and Benetton F1 Chief Designer Nick Wirth. The group specialises in research, development, design and manufacture for the motor racing industry and other high technology sectors. Their approach allows new components to be tested in a virtual environment before physical parts are produced.

Each student worked independently on different parts of the software to deliver a Simulink model which is able to replicate real world performance more accurately than the model currently used by Wirth Research. Chris focused on the drivetrain (clutch, gearbox, driveshaft and differential), Dominic worked on traction control elements, and James concentrated on tyres.

During their visit at Wirth Research, the students combined their work and were able to ‘plug-in’ the sub-models that they had created for the drivetrain, tyres and traction control system, and drive the modified simulated Sports Car around the Mid-Ohio Sports Car Circuit. As well as driving their own modified simulator, the students were also able to try the current Wirth Research system to compare similarities and differences between the two.

Chris commented, “The chance to work with a real world situation for my final project was extremely useful, and made it ultimately more rewarding when my solution worked on the simulator. The opportunity to consult with Wirth Research staff during the project was also very valuable when it came to problems and questions that were encountered during the project”.

Staff at Wirth complimented the students on the quality of their models, and their highly professional approach to project management.