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The purpose of the present research relates to the sensitivity analysis of road vehicle comfort and handling performances with respect to suspension technological parameters. The envisaged suspension being of semi-active nature, this implies first to consider an hybrid modeling approach consisting of a 3D multibody model of the full car - an Audi A6 in our case - coupled with the electro-hydraulic model of the suspension dampers. Concerning parameter sensitivitie, the goal is to capture them for themselves - and not necessarily for optimization purpose - because their knowledge is of a great interest for the damper manufacturer. An important issue of the research is to consider objective functions which are based on complete time integrations along a given trajectory, the goal being - for instance - to quantify the sensitivity of the carbody rms acceleration (comfort) or of the vehicle overturning character (handling) with respect to suspension parameters. On one hand, the accuracy of the various partial derivatives computation can be greatly enhanced thanks to the symbolic capabilities of our ROBOTRAN multibody program. On the other hand, the computational efficiency of the process also takes advantage of the recursive formulation of the multibody equations of motion which must be time integrated with respect to both the generalized coordinates and their partial derivatives in case of the so-called direct method underlying sensitivity analysis.
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