By Richard Adams, MIRA Model analysis A cab design concept from MIRA has signalled a new approach to vehicle design and development processes
T he design of the Optimus truck cab incorporates best- in- class- packaging zones for all popular chassis, powertrain and HVAC requirements. But the real story is not about the cab' s design attributes but about the innovative design process that MIRA adopted. MIRA is a proven exponent of innovative design and from the outset of the Optimus project, the company used its broad experience to prescribe the materials and production techniques required to produce the design, taking full advantage of known volume manufacturing considerations. The design and development set out to maximise the benefits of digital techniques. Digital versus traditional approach Traditionally, styling and engineering would have been conducted using different software applications, eventually culminating in a full-size clay model of the chosen design. This model would then be used to assess and refine aerodynamic performance in a wind tunnel and then, after any subsequent styling changes had been made, the model would be digitised to create CAD data for production engineering. MIRA ignored this traditional method of ' reverse engineering' from clay models in favour of a more-integrated digital approach. The initial styling phase began with traditional sketch development to brainstorm ideas and define the " In a radical departure from accepted processes, CATIA was used not only for engineering design, but also for styling"