Transportation vehicles have been immensely important for the growth and development of a nation. It is extremely necessary for the economic development of the rural as well as the urban populations. These vehicles offer an efficient journey for the inhabitants as well as for the transportation of their goods and services. It strengthens the national defence, industry, agriculture, and other segments of the economy. With the advent of technologies, industries have focused on delivering transportation vehicles that can withstand the challenges of modern times and work effectively.
A typical vehicle development process starts with idea generation and is followed by screening the various ideas. The next step is concept development and testing of the vehicle. It is further followed by marketing strategy development, business analysis, functional testing, market development, and commercialization. Each stage of vehicle development involves deciding the fate of dropping or moving with product development. A consumer-adoption process is an important way through which companies can make a decision regarding the fate of new products. It consists of spreading awareness and interest among consumers for evaluation, trial, and adoption.
The design and development of any transportation vehicle require construction, configuration, and styling. It is coupled with technical innovation and refinement during production and manufacturing systems. It helps industries to give a competitive advantage and help in delivering mass-produced vehicles. Early manufacturers used a wooden framework for upper body work but it was not suitable for high-speed vehicles and hence metal chassis frames were subsequently used. The early 19th century saw steam engined road vehicles pull the agricultural equipment. The development of the engines allowed enhancement in the ignition and carburation system. It has resulted in sophisticated valve and cooling arrangements. This has resulted in an utter rivalry among steam, diesel, and petrol engines over the century. Though the engines are almost similar and possess common mechanical characteristics. The diesel engine is run by spontaneous combustion of fuel in the presence of compressed air rather than ignition by electric spark. It eliminates the need for the carburetor and a spark ignition system. Hence diesel engines are increasingly used in challenging conditions.
The development of transportation vehicles requires a wide range of engineering materials. A wide range of materials is available along with iron, copper, and aluminum for the construction of vehicles. These materials provide ductility, strength, and stiffness under various conditions. As a transportation vehicle works in challenging environments, hence the vehicles have to possess corrosion stability, environmental stability, fracture toughness, suitable density, expansion coefficient, and electrical conductivity. These extreme properties have allowed manufacturers to adopt materials such as polymers and ceramics along with the other metals. These engineering materials are helping the companies to develop supreme vehicles with amazing bodywork, engines, exhaust systems, and other devices. These materials are lightweight and have significant effects on the performance of the transportation vehicles.
Transportation vehicle development has made a huge leap in the late 20th century by employing JIT/LP philosophy in the production lineup. It has enhanced the flexibility and agility of the entire production process from design to manufacture. It allows the identification and distinguishing of the production cycle and development cycle. Through this approach, an organization can perform with lesser bottlenecks, errors, delays, and high inventories. It translates operational needs and customer requirements at all life cycle stages through simultaneous consideration of development, support, disposal, and manufacturing needs. This technique facilitates the designers to utilize all the manufacturing opportunities by maximizing value and minimizing costs. Industries are also implementing IPPD through various techniques for the analysis of manufacturing and various requirements. This entire system has allowed the optimal deployment of the engineering effort for examining the requirements and target outcomes.
Body designing is an extremely crucial step in the development of a high-performance vehicle. Vehicle designers create starts with designing on papers and later transform those drawings into three-dimensional models. It is used for gaining all body surface information for structural design and tooling. The creation of a prototype or a clay model is a long and tedious process that helps in gaining optimal information about vehicle performance in various conditions. Currently, most of the designing and styling using computer-aided design software by offering vital decision-making interventions. This software can incorporate rendering systems capable of delivering anything as per the designer’s requirements.
Transportation vehicles have an immense aerodynamic influence upon their design. This has allowed greater technology interventions and produced fuel-efficient aerodynamic design. Fuel efficiency in any vehicle depends upon the efficiency of the engine, the mass of the vehicle, and aerodynamic drag. Some of the important factors that help in enhancing the performance of a transportation vehicle include aerodynamic forces, drag reduction, stability and crosswinds, noise, underhood ventilation, and cabin ventilation. Most of these factors are stabilized with the technique of computational fluid dynamics.
Generally, there are five basic loads that are imposed on the body structure of a transportation vehicle. These include bending case, torsion case, combined bending and torsion, lateral loading, and fore and aft loading. There are also wide ranges of the vehicle structure. These are developed as ladder frames, cruciform frames, torque tube backbone frames, space frames. The vehicle loads are imposed on the vehicle when traversing roads and other surfaces. The bending and torsion loads are examined with a simple structural surface method that is generally used to measure local stresses and deflections. It facilitates the design of the structure and various other components of a transportation vehicle. Also, the finite element methods can be utilized on the basic design and achieve enhanced details and greater structure efficiency.
The automotive designer lays the utmost importance on the crashworthiness of the vehicle. It is examined by analyzing the structural collapse and associated energy absorption and intrusion. These factors are crucial for passenger’s safety and allow further improvement. Manufacturers study vehicle crush characteristics with the impact of a rigid barrier and between two vehicles. They also study the effect of impact on seat belt performance. The effectiveness of the seat belt is analyzed in four ways. First, an intrusion that is caused by the collapse of the passenger’s compartment. Second, the extension of the seat belt allowing the passenger to strike some part of the vehicle. Third, the transmission of localized loads to the wearer through the webbing. Fourth, high deceleration in severe impacts.
Manufacturers also focus on increased refinement of noise, vibration, and harshness in the transportation vehicle. Vibration has always been linked with reliability and quality as greater vibration often leads to uncomfortable vehicles. Designers pay greater attention to control the vibration and noise in vehicles. With the reduction in vehicle weight and higher engine speeds, there is a greater need for lessening vibration, noise, and harshness. This has resulted in the development of various approaches for vibration and noise analysis. Some of these approaches include the development of mathematical models of the study and analyze them by formulating the equation. It is also done by analyzing free vibration characteristics and forced vibration response to various disturbances. The approach also investigates the methods for controlling the undesirable vibration levels if they arise in the transportation vehicle.
Customer feedback is an important aspect to progress any business. It helps in improving the delivery of services and products. It can assure the level of customer satisfaction among the customers. Responsiveness to customer feedback ensures that the management value the opinion of the customers and thereby enhancing customer experience. It also ensures faster delivery of the information to the customers and improves customer retention. Once the product is available to the consumers in the market, the enterprises have the responsibility to monitor the performance of their vehicle. Post-market surveillance is essential to check any of the drawbacks or problems that the customers possibly be facing.
The end goal of any product design is to provide a next-generation customer experience to its users. The businesses are focusing not only on enhancing customer retention but also on the sustainability of their product by following cyclic practices. Customer learning is very crucial for smoothening the business operations as it delivers value within the growth process. It requires learning customers’ desires and reviews. It is important for market- oriented companies to acquire customer-related facts and information that can be translated to achieve the products and services as desired by the consumers. Leading organizations tend to clearly identify the benefits of their customers from the delivery of the products. They align their marketing and technical skills with the needs of their customers.