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Ricardo joins OSMC in commitment to Modelica-based CAE; IGNITE for vehicle performance and fuel economy

Different views of Modelica: Libraries of model components, models in textual or schematic view, model animation, and plots of model signals. Source: Modelica Association. Click to enlarge.

Ricardo Software has joined the Open Source Modelica Consortium (OSMC), demonstrating the company’s commitment to Modelica-based CAE and paving the way for launch of the forthcoming IGNITE software product. Modelica is a non-proprietary, object-oriented, equation-based language for the modeling of complex cyber-physical systems—i.e., containing mechanical, electrical, electronic, hydraulic, thermal, control, electric power or process-oriented subcomponents.

Ricardo’s forthcoming IGNITE product is a physics-based system simulation package—operating in Modelica—that focuses on complete vehicle performance and fuel economy. With a planned launch later this summer, IGNITE will allow engineers quickly to identify important variables and constraints and find optimal vehicle designs.

Modelica. Modelica has been developed by the (non-profit) Modelica Association since 1996 and has been in use in industry since 2000. The language supports modeling the dynamic behavior of technical systems consisting of components from mechanical, electrical, thermal, hydraulic, pneumatic, fluid, control and other domains in a convenient way. The models are described by differential, algebraic, and discrete equations.

Example of a detailed vehicle model in Modelica. Source: Modelica Association. Click to enlarge.

Modelica does not entail description by partial differential equations—i.e., no FEM (finite element method) and no CFD (computational fluid dynamics)—but rather uses the results of such programs. It offers four key benefits:

  • Multi-domain modeling, i.e., cyber-physical modeling of electric, mechanics and control domains.
  • Visual acausal hierarchical component modeling
  • Typed declarative equation-based textual language
  • Hybrid modeling and simulation

Although the models are primarily designed for simulation, but there are also other usages of models, such as optimization, noted Peter Fritzson, Professor at Linköping University, Sweden Vice Chairman of Modelica Association and Director of OSMC in a 2012 overview of Modelica and OpenModelica.

Many automotive companies, such as Audi, BMW, Daimler, Ford, Toyota, VW use Modelica to design energy efficient vehicles and/or improved air conditioning systems.

Research projects within Europe are spending some €75 million (US$97 million) in the years 2007-2015 to further improve Modelica and Modelica-related technology. This is being performed within the ITEA2 projects EUROSYSLIB, MODELISAR, OPENPROD, and MODRIO.

There are several free and commercial tools using Modelica in addition to OpenModelica, including, but not limited to, MathModelica from MathCore (now Wolfram SystemModeler); Dymola from Dassault systems; SimulationX from ITI; and MapleSim from MapleSoft.

OSMC. OSMC is distinct from the Modelica Association, the organization that develops and standardizes the Modelica Language and the Modelica Standard Library, and aims to have good cooperation with the Association.

With a membership including some of the world’s leading engineering organizations and CAD and CAE software developers, the OSMC is a non-profit, non-governmental organization with the aim of developing and promoting the development and usage of the OpenModelica open source implementation of the Modelica and associated open-source tools and libraries.

The OSMC membership allows Ricardo to include and distribute the OpenModelica solver technology within its software products. With this addition, Ricardo Software users will have greater convenience, as they will no longer have to separately procure and install third-party platforms in order to operate. In addition, the membership allows the company to provide input into the general direction of Modelica-based industry standards and have voting rights within the consortium.

Ricardo is fully committed to Modelica and will be basing our new vehicle system simulation product, IGNITE, on this platform. The power and flexibility of Modelica not only enables us to deliver rapid innovation to our clients, but empowers them to implement their own intellectual property in the IGNITE environment.

—David Higbie, global director of Ricardo Software


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