Using Simulation in Virtual Reality Environment to Find Effects of Human Operators on the Life-Cycle Efficiency of Off-Highway Working Vehicles

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Virtual Reality (VR) environments and real-time simulators are becoming more and more important tools in R&D process of off-highway working vehicles. The virtual prototyping techniques enable faster and more cost-efficient development of machines compared to use of real life prototypes. Possibilities of virtual prototypes should be studied to take full advantage of them. The objective of this article is to study the process of using a VR environment with a real-time simulator for assessing effects of human operators on the life-cycle efficiency of working vehicles. As a test case human in the loop simulations are ran by virtual prototype of Load Haul Dump (LHD) underground mining vehicle. Results of test drivers are compared and discussed. The simulation model of the LHD is based on multibody dynamics. The model also includes models of diesel engine, mechanical driveline and fluid power system. The study shows that state of the art real-time working machine simulators are capable to solve factors related to life-cycle efficiency such as energy consumption and productivity among others. A significant variation between the test drivers is found. The study shows that VR environment can be used for assessing human effects on the life-cycle efficiency of working vehicles.
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Construction Machinery; Efficiency; Energy; Human; Simulation; Virtual Reality; Working Vehicle

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