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A truck transformed

John Day

John Day

Posted Jun 9, 2013
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If you’re familiar with the “Transformers” franchise (movies, toys, games, et al) you may be pleased to know that “Transformers 4,” directed once again by Michael Bay, is scheduled for release in late June next year, and a featured player – the semi trailer truck Optimus Prime – has a link to Mentor Graphics.

Optimus Prime, the leader of the Autobots, previously based on a Peterbilt Model 379, will be played this go-round by a custom-built truck manufactured by Western Star, a subsidiary of Daimler Trucks North America. The real-life truck is currently in development and also expected to launch next year.

The movie’s supporting cast includes, in addition to Mark Wahlberg, a Lamborghini Aventador, a Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse, a Corvette C7 Stingray, and a “highly modified” ’67 Camaro SS (you can see photos of the cars at www.michaelbay.com).

Where Mentor comes in is that Daimler uses Mentor’s Capital Electrical Design Software. While it’s not known for sure, it’s likely that Mentor’s software played a key role in Optimus Prime’s design. Mentor Capital software was used in the development of Daimler’s Actros – its flagship heavy truck.

According to Daimler, the Actros includes innovative electrical/electronic systems that significantly boost efficiency, safety, and reliability but that also posed systems integration, design validation and configuration management challenges for the engineers designing the truck.

“To develop such an advanced truck requires not only powerful design automation, but also robust design data management,” said Wolfgang Appel, senior manager, system architecture, Mechatronic Engineering, Mercedes-Benz Trucks. “Capital was the natural tool choice because it is so strong in these areas, and is designed to be used by large, multi-site organizations.”

According to Daimler, Capital’s design lifecycle management, electrical/mechanical data integration, and standardized communication with suppliers were key contributors to successful development of the Actros’ complex electrical systems. No less for a truck charged with saving the world.

Transformers, Michael Bay, Western Star, Camaro SS, Corvette C7 Stingray, Bugatti Grand Sport Vitesse, Mark Wahlberg, Mentor Graphics, Daimler Trucks North America, Lamborghini Aventador

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John DayJohn Day recently launched John Day’s Automotive Electronics News (johndayautomotivelectronics.com) to provide news and feature coverage of the automotive electronics industry. Earlier he wrote for Auto Electronics magazine, Auto E-lectronics, EE Times, and other business and engineering publications. Visit John Day

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