Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)

Legacy Department

Automotive Engineering

Committee Chair/Advisor

Dr. Paul J. Venhovens

Committee Member

Dr. Imtiaz Haque

Committee Member

Dr. Georges Fadel

Committee Member

Dr. Zoran Filipi


Design freedom, and particularly the freedom to incorporate innovative designs and strategies, is greatest at the very beginning of vehicle conceptual design. Conversely, this is when the least knowledge of the product exists. As product content decisions are made the level of freedom in the design decreases and the design becomes "locked in." The majority of vehicle lifecycle cost is also set by the end of vehicle conceptual design. This makes it critical to make well-informed and validated decisions in the concept design phase to avoid expensive iterations and redesign in the detailed design phase. Parametric vehicle modeling permits rapid iteration and optimization of vehicles in the conceptual design phase. A significant portion of vehicle design can be optimized parametrically without knowing specific Computer Aided Design (CAD) based details. Many overall vehicle characteristics such as curb mass, center of gravity location, key dimensions, occupant packaging and cargo volume can all be assessed and improved at the parametric level. Key vehicle performance measures can also be determined to a high level of confidence. In developing vehicle dimensions for a parametric model it is recommended to build up a vehicle using an "inside-out" approach centered on effective, knowledge-based occupant packaging. This work develops a continuum of dimensional parameters which tie vehicle internal and external dimensions together; it employs a combination of industry standard and author-defined component dimensions which make up overall vehicle outside dimensions. An effective continuum of functional parameters is also developed. In order to develop and optimize models for a desired vehicle type and size class, a knowledge base of vehicle typical values for key dimensional parameters has been compiled using a combination of data sources and field measurements. These values provide a useful starting point for the vehicle design optimization process. They also increase optimization effectiveness and ensure that the optimization begins within a valid design space. This work also develops a parametric modeling, scenario builder and optimization software framework which provides a design and optimization tool for vehicle design with trade-off evaluation tools. These parametric design methods improve design maturity prior to beginning vehicle detailed design.



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