Despite the ever-increasing computational power of modern processors, the reduction of complex multibody dynamic models remains an important topic of investigation, particularly for design optimization, sensitivity analysis, parameter identification, and controller tuning tasks, which can require hundreds or thousands of simulations. In this work, we first develop a high-fidelity model of a production sports utility vehicle in Adams/Car. Single-link equivalent kinematic quarter-car (SLEKQ, pronounced “sleek”) models for the front and rear suspensions are then developed in MapleSim. To avoid the computational complexity associated with introducing bushings or kinematic loops, all suspension linkages are lumped into a single unsprung mass at each corner of the vehicle. The SLEKQ models are designed to replicate the kinematic behaviour of a full suspension model using lookup tables or polynomial functions, which are obtained from the high-fidelity Adams model in this work. The predictive capability of each SLEKQ model relies on the use of appropriate parameters for the nonlinear spring and damper, which include the stiffness and damping contributions of the bushings, and the unsprung mass. Homotopy optimization is used to identify the parameters that minimize the difference between the responses of the Adams and MapleSim models. Finally, the SLEKQ models are assembled to construct a reduced 10-degree-of-freedom model of the full vehicle, the dynamic performance of which is validated against that of the high-fidelity Adams model using four-post heave and pitch tests.
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