Expert Systems, the key to vehicle aerodynamics
From the missile shaped design of the modern F1 Grand Prix racing car to the brick-like structure of a heavy truck, aerodynamics plays a crucial role in how well they behave on the road and how efficiently they perform the tasks they are designed for.
For all vehicles, ranging from small passenger vehicles to commercial buses and trucks, reducing air drag is one of the most efficient ways of improving fuel economy. For example, a 5% improvement in drag for a typical diesel engine heavy tuck, which can simply be achieved by improving the design of the wing mirrors, can result in fuel savings of around 500-1000 litres/year for a typical 150,000 km annual highway driving. On the other end of the scale, in motor racing fuel saving might not be the number one priority, but reaching very high speeds certainly is. To propel a typical Class 1 ITC racing car at 300km/h, around 30 kW of additional power is required for a car with drag coefficient of 0.40, compared to one with 0.36. And when you are operating at the limit of your engine, this can make the difference between winning or losing.
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