German racing team uses optical sensors to measure downforce

  • May 12, 2015
  • Bestech Australia
  • Case Study

May 12, 2015 - For two years, Micro-Epsilon sensors have been used by the Tuning Akademie racing team for testing specially designed and built racing cars for their chassis components, alternative materials, innovative fuel and drive concepts. In the endurance races (e.g. ADAC Zurich 24-Hour Race) at the Nürburgring, a team made up by AUDI engineers and technicians, as well as research associates and students of the RWTH Aachen, tested vehicle development concepts from a scientific viewpoint. The racing vehicle is based on an Audi A4 (B7) Quattro with a V6 TDI engine; power is approx. 230 kW, torque is approx. 660 Nm, permanent all-wheel drive.

Two optoNCDT 1402 laser sensors were fixed at a height level same to the front and rear axles under the bodywork with an aim at continuously improve vehicle performance. These downward facing optical sensors measure the distance between the vehicle and the road surface. The team is able to accurately determin the aerodynamic balance and respective downforce at the from the rear axles by continuously measuring the vehicle height against the driving speed. Based on data collected, even pitching movements during acceleration and braking phases can be evaluated in details to further enhance the driving behaviour and aerodynamic efficiency. The high sampling rate and measuring accuracy of the laser triangulation sensors optoNCDT 1402 provide an excellent platform for reproducible measurements.

"For two years, we’ve been using the optoNCDT 1402 laser sensors in external areas under our vehicle in harsh racing conditions at the Nürburgring Nordschleife. This sensor technology allows us to evaluate in detail the effectiveness of different aerodynamic components or chassis components, even after the first lap. As well as providing excellent data quality and robustness in our specific applications, the sensors primarily stand out due to their ease of use and simplified handling," says Thomas Hanisch, managing director of the Tuning Akademie.

The optoNCDT 1402 laser sensor distributed by Bestech Australia with integrated digital signal processor is designed for measuring displacement, distance and position. The sensor performs non-contact distance measurements on a wide variety of material surfaces. The flexible sensor connector can be rotated and offers an RS422 interface.

Apart from team Tuning Akademie, Micro-Epsilon sensors are also supplied to the McLaren and Renault Formula 1 teams.The Bloodhound SSC team with its 135,000 HP rocket car is mounted with these sensors and measurement systems for various development, bench tests and on-vehicle road tests.


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