The limits of the digital prototype?

Forbes article suggests faulty use of simulation software may have contributed to Toyota gas pedal design problem.

Comments Off on The limits of the digital prototype? February 8, 2010
by DE staff

In February, Forbes magazine reported that the cause of Toyota’s recall of 2.3 million sticky gas pedals may have been due to a limited application of engineering simulation software by Toyota analysis engineers.

Like most of the aerospace and automotive industries, the Japanese automaker relies on CATIA and the suite of Dassault Systemes PLM software to create and manage design data for its cars.

The speculation follows from statements made by Toyota’s chief quality officer, Shinichi Sasaki, at a news conference in Japan. According to the article, Sasaki said Toyota "may not have done enough to look at ‘how vehicle parts perform as a whole inside the car under different environmental conditions.’"

Rather than single DS software out, the article suggests that complex CAE software is only as good as the engineers who set up the simulation and their ability to anticipate every potential use case and operating environment.

Quoting Charles Foundyller, chief executive of research firm Daratech, the Forbes article relates:

"It’s a human being that’s doing the modeling," says Foundyller. "If the human doesn’t think of all the factors that could influence the performance, or if he doesn’t fully understand the environment, his model will be faulty."
Original Forbes Article: Toyota: Computer Addled Design