Southern Virginia Vehicle Motion Laboratory (SoVa Motion)

Formerly The Virginia Institute for Performance Engineering and Research (VIPER)

8 post rig at SoVaMotion, formerly VIPER

A unique collaborative venture which combines world class talent and state-of-the-art testing and development assets with the research capabilities to provide performance engineering services to a broad spectrum of customers.

The organization is now a part of the Global Center for Automotive Performance Simulation.  GCAPS is a partnership between General Motors, The Institute for Advanced Learning and Research and Virginia Tech.

A national center for ground vehicle performance testing, engineering & research services specializing in racing, advance technology and performance vehicles, SoVa Motion is strategically located at the Virginia International Raceway, a 1200-acre race complex with multiple courses.   The organization boasts world-class testing equipment, and delivers cutting-edge performance to its motorsports, military and automotive industry clients.

The facility boasts an eight-post shaker rig and a driving simulator, each of which can be programmed to simulate many of the world’s racetracks. A race car can be strapped to the shaker rig, and its suspension fine-tuned with precise adjustments, while the rig’s giant pneumatic posts simulate the surface and air dynamics affecting the car's performance over a particular track.

SoVa Motion has the combined testing resources and technical expertise to help your organization achieve the most from your vehicle’s suspension system and offers state-of-the-art equipment and expertise for shock and suspension testing, driver performance, virtual prototyping of vehicle components, and a broad range of on-vehicle sensing such as wheel force transducers.

Whether the goal is to optimize your race vehicle’s grip to gain precious fractions of a second on track, or help accelerate the development of the ride tuning of a prototype passenger vehicle, SoVa Motion can tailor a test program to suit your development needs.  Services offered cover the entire spectrum of suspension development testing from on-vehicle data acquisition to 8-post vehicle dynamics shaker testing, along with the expertise to explain to you what it all means.


8 Post Rig

SoVa Motion’s 8-post test rig represents the next generation in dynamic suspension testing equipment. It has several advantages over today’s 7-post rigs:

  • Chassis actuators (aero-loaders) are electro-magnetic instead of hydraulic.
  • The eighth actuator allows pure pitch and roll moments to be applied to the chassis independent of the amount of warping.
  • The test rig can accommodate vehicles from a golf cart to a fully up-armored HMMWV.

Damper Development/Characterization

Housed in the same building as the 8 Post shake rig, SoVa Motion has a fully stocked shock development lab. This lab boasts a Roehrig 4K electromechanical shock dynamometer, two shock build stations, nitrogen supply, and a substantial supply of shock rebuild tools. We have a full compliment of lab grade power supplies, oscilloscopes, as well as a dSpace prototype controller.

  • Shock Audit.
  • Rebuild and balance.
  • Suspension Technologies consulting.
  • Shock development program management.

Data Acquisition

As with any engineering development program, data is of paramount necessity. Without data it is impossible to accurately assess the baseline state of your system or any developed improvements. SoVa Motion has a large compliment of data acquisition equipment including data loggers and instrumentation. We currently have a PI sigma system, a VBOX GPS system and are in the process of developing our own custom data acquisition system. In terms of sensors, SoVa Motion has an ever increasing stock of accelerometers, linear potentiometers, rotary potentiometers, gyros, IR temperatures sensors, shock load cells, laser ride heights, etc. as well as a full set of Kistler Roadyn wheel force transducers with NASCAR adaptations

  • Vehicle instrumentation.
  • Data collection.
  • Data analysis and consulting.

Full Motion Driving Simulator

The SoVa Motion driving simulator provides full-immersion simulation of the driving experience with visual, audible, tactile, and motion feedback to the driver.  Drivers can improve lap times by driving virtual vehicles on virtual tracks, which are constructed with data measured from the actual track.

Component suppliers can test drive virtual prototypes such as tires or suspension components to reduce development costs associated with making physical prototypes.

SoVA Motion currently has one of the only Drag Race vehicle simulations with two side-by-side simulators and realistic launch acceleration enhancements.

The Hexatech six degree-of-freedom full motion driving simulator made by Crude couples a high performance electromechanical motion base with sophisticated motion cueing to produce a high fidelity simulated driving experience. Accordingly, the simulator can be used to train drivers in a low risk, highly flexible environment. Additionally, having a high fidelity driver experience allows for the inclusion of humans back into the simulation development process, so that an actual person can help influence the direction of development within the simulation world.

This virtual prototype testing could range from component level models all the way through complete virtual vehicle simulations, too allow driving a vehicle before one is ever produced. To aid this type of work, SoVa Motion has a dSpace Autobox real time controller. Lastly, as simulation capability continues to advance, the driving simulator provides a tool to help characterize human performance for the development of advanced driver models.

  • Driver training / evaluation
  • Virtual prototype testing
  • Stochastic driver model development

On road evaluation at VIR

Vehicle level ride and handling tests and evaluations on Virginia International Raceway’s world class circuit and designated local roads for ride and steering development.