Programmable Vehicle Models
Although most PVMs have been built for the automotive market, Prefix Programmable Models can be built to study and improve virtually any situation in which a machine operator's preference, fatigue and/or productivity is important.
PVM technology bridges the gap between the pure physical world and pure Computer Aided Engineering (CAE) environment. Like CAE, PVMs allow our clients to obtain the information they need to make informed program development, and engineering decisions in a fraction of the time, and at a fraction of the cost. However, unlike a pure CAE approach a PVM approach additionally offers the ability to physically experience getting into a vehicle while still reducing the number of prototypes. The two approaches complement each other nicely, and are especially powerful when used together.
By integrating our motion control expertise with vehicle models, Prefix developed the PVM (programmable vehicle model), U.S. Patents 5,384,704 and 6,371,766 and revolutionized the auto industry. A PVM is an articulated machine / buck of specified vehicle dimensions which moves in seconds from one model configuration to another. Imagine having the ability to benchmark your concept against your closest competitors without having to build or manage multiple properties or bucks.
Prefix PVMs have been used in engineering, market research, and anthropometric studies all over the world (Germany, Great Britain, Brazil, Tokyo, Thailand, USA). Through these studies, automotive manufacturers have been able to determine occupant posture and ergonomic preferences within a vehicle. The results have been used to identify and develop improved seating accommodation models.
Below is a clip from a commercial that originally aired during Super Bowl XXIX. Chrysler showcases a first generation PVM built by Prefix and its ability to adjust component dimensions within 1 mm to quickly conduct accurate market research.
Super Bowl XXIX Commercial (WMV 1.1 MB)
The next video shows an example of a second generation PVM which was designed to allow the customer to evaluate both interior and exterior packages.
2nd Generation PVM Video (WMV 1.6 MB)
Today, a PVM can be designed to simulate any size vehicle from super compacts to full size semi tractor trailers. The appearance of the PVM can be as specific or as generic as is desired. From interchangeable stretchable body skins and fully upholstered interiors - to simple drapes to cover mechanical / machine components. Complex roof structures have also been developed for entry and egress studies as well as head room and vision verification. Please contact Prefix with any specific questions that you may have.
Ford Motor Company PVM (51 independent axes of motion)
media.ford.com - Ford�s Programmable Vehicle Model design tool delivers optimum comfort and capability to every Ford interior - PDF format (119 KB)
media.ford.com - Ford's Industry-First Technology Speeds Interior Design - PDF format (80 KB)
Prefix's Programmable Vehicle Model is being used by Ford Motor Company to integrate the physical world into their virtual reality research. This augmented reality allows users to sit in and feel vehicles that do not exist yet and experience them as different people would. This technology is featured in a commercial that can be seen below.
High Resolution: Ford "Drive One" Commercial AVI format - 6.2 MB (the DivX codec may be required).
Lower Resolution: Ford "Drive One" Commercial WMV format - 1.9 MB
9th Generation Toyota Technical Center USA PVM (41 axes of motion)
Prefix's latest generation PVM has been featured in an Item case study. Using extruded aluminum as the main structural element we were able to achieve greater ranges of motion while reducing overall weight and component build times. The material also allows for a modular PVM design approach where components such as a seat and steering column can be built with provisions to add additional axes of motion such as a center console or pedal assembly later.
Articles and Additional Information
PVM Past, Present, and Future PowerPoint Presentation
Oakland Business Review - Prefix Innovation
Digital-measuring arm helps vehicle simulator find �right feel� in new designs
SAE Technical Paper - Evaluation of the PVM Methodology to Evaluate Vehicle Interior Packages
External Related Links