Using model-based methods to support vehicle analysis planning
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Vehicle system analysis models are becoming crucial to automotive designers wishing to better understand vehicle-level attributes and how they vary under different operating conditions. Such models require substantial planning and collaboration between multidisciplinary engineering teams. To improve the process used to create a vehicle system analysis model, the broader question of how to plan and develop any model should be addressed. Model-Based Systems Engineering (MBSE) is one approach that can be used to make such complex engineering tasks more efficient. MBSE can improve these tasks in several ways. It allows for more formal communication among stakeholders, avoids the ambiguity commonly found in document-based approaches to systems engineering, and allows stakeholders to all contribute to a single, integrated system model. Commonly, the Systems Modeling Language (SysML) is used to integrate existing analysis models with a system-level SysML model. This thesis, on the other hand, focuses on using MBSE to support the planning and development of the analysis models themselves. This thesis proposes an MBSE approach to improve the development of system models for Integrated Vehicle Analysis (IVA). There are several contributions of this approach. A formal process is proposed that can be used to plan and develop system analysis models. A comprehensive SysML model is used to capture both a descriptive model of a Vehicle Reference Architecture (VRA), as well as the requirements, specifications, and documentation needed to plan and develop vehicle system analysis models. The development of both the process and SysML model was performed alongside Ford engineers to investigate how their current practices can be improved. For the process and SysML model to be implemented effectively, a set of software tools is used to create a more intuitive user interface for the stakeholders involved. First, functionality is added to views and viewpoints in SysML so that they may be used to formally capture the concerns of different stakeholders as exportable XML files. Using these stakeholder-specific XML files, a custom template engine can be used to generate unique spreadsheets for each stakeholder. In this way, the concerns and responsibilities of each stakeholder can be defined within the context of a formally defined process. The capability of these two tools is illustrated through the use of examples which mimic current practices at Ford and can demonstrate the utility of such an approach.