With last week’s launch of the new mid-engine Corvette, these are indeed exciting times for General Motors and its employees.
The company recently pulled back the screen a little to show the world some of the technology used in the development of the 2020 Stingray in a recent interview with GM lead performance engineer, John Wilkinson.
Wilkinson explains that a Driver-in-the-Loop simulator played a key role in the new Corvette’s engineering, using a real-time computer and a driving simulator to allow engineers to “evaluate how changes performed and how deviations to one system interacted with other systems in a virtual model, using the same physics and electronic control systems as a full prototype, [allowing them] to streamline changes and strengthen vehicle performance throughout every stage of development.”
Changes are always coming in the automotive world, and Wilkinson says he can readily attest to that fact.
“The industry and skill set required is changing faster than it can be taught,” he says, “so blending a strong understanding of fundamental concepts with a dynamic ability to react quickly and problem solve is the only way to keep up.”
Wilkinson called it “a major career milestone” helping to implement the Driver-in-the-Loop simulator, noting that he had to learn electrical design and integration, control system design, and computer programming to successfully integrate and run the Corvette on the driving simulator.
He says he is “very passionate” about GM’s future EV (Electric Vehicle) portfolio and believes the work on the simulator designing the new Corvette will pay off in future company vehicles.
“Leveraging the Driver-in-the-Loop technology and applying what we have learned from testing dynamics on other vehicles, like the Corvette, will maximize the capabilities of our EV products,” Wilkinson says. “This will make the next few years extraordinarily challenging and exciting for me.”
Wilkinson believes the Corvette will play a key role in the corporate vision of Zero Crashes, Zero Emissions and Zero Congestion.
“To me, Corvette has always represented the physical realization of our capability to deliver the ever-improving goal of performance,” he says. “This is motivating because it empowers the team to go and figure out how we can achieve our goal when the details aren’t necessarily clear. As a result, we’ve made technical innovations in both simulation and real vehicle testing to set the stage for the next generation of performance.”
Sounds like even more exciting times for the Corvette are lying ahead, thanks to GM employees like Wilkinson.