Neural Concept, EPFL (École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne), senseFly and AirShaper teamed up for an academic research project to apply deep learning to aerodynamics.
We connected the Neural Concept deep learning software to the AirShaper aerodynamics platform via APIs (Application Programming Interfaces). Then, the software explored the most exotic 3D shapes possible and analyzed each of those on AirShaper.
Based on those learnings, the software started seeing trends and improved its understanding of the application. Soon, it started making predictions on what could be an even better aerodynamic shape!
Sports cars & race cars mainly use aerodynamics to generate downforce. This increases normal pressures on the tires, allowing them to handle more lateral forces. This results in higher cornering speeds.
The downside is that this increases friction on the ground (and thus increases required power), makes the car more dependent on the friction coefficient (lower safety), increases the loads on components (making the car heavier) and influences the ride height and aerodynamics during a race (changing its behaviour).
In this study, done in the early days of AirShaper, H. Maho started from the Aquilo Concept Car and analyzed alternative concepts for lateral force generation.
Vaude, designer & manufacturer or sustainable outdoor clothing & gear, wanted to improve the thermal comfort of cyclists wearing a backpack.
Thermoregulation of an athlete during physical activities plays an important role especially in endurance sports such as cycling. Depending on the type and intensity level of the activity thermoregulation can affect performance and/or thermal comfort. During cycling, especially within the MTB categories, athletes often wear a backpack.
The overall goal of the study was to engineer a new backpack ventilation technology utilizing the relative headwind generated during cycling for convective heat transfer between backpack and first clothing layer.
Wearing a backpack affects the microclimate (MC: temperature and humidity between skin and first clothing layer) as well as the interlayer climate (ILC: temperature and humidity between first clothing layer and backpack/mid layer) depending on the backpack sytem. In short, the comfort & performance of the rider are compromised.
Vaude has developed two new rear panel designs for cycling backpacks and evaluated those using AirShaper CFD (computational fluid dynamics) analysis. The present subject study represents a “proof of concept” comparing two new rear panel designs with a conventional full contact back and a ventilated backpack system regarding temperature and humidity related to MC and ILC.
Aerodynamics are crucial to many industries and to the transportation industry in particular. Not only are aerodynamics responsible for over half the fuel/power consumption at highway speeds, but they also greatly impact the stability of vehicles under windy conditions or travelling at high speeds. With passenger safety at stake, understanding and optimizing the aerodynamics of vehicles is crucial, whether it concerns cars, trucks or bikes. In this document, two of the most relevant cases where aerodynamics impact vehicle performance & safety are analyzed: cross wind stability & fuel consumption.
Cold & windy conditions are the number one reason for commuters to not take the bike to work. Optimizing the thermal comfort of footwear plays a key role in the overall comfort in a cold environment. In this research poster, Vaude explains how they combined thermal imaging and CFD simulations to develop the second generation of their Minaki cycling shoe.