The evaluation and development of a vehicle's ride and handling characteristics are still largely carried out by subjective means within the automotive industry. However, the need to reduce product development times and to “design in” acceptable handling characteristics at the prototype stage requires a more formalized approach to handling development. The use of objective measurement methods, alongside subjective techniques, in a vehicle development program is described, and it is argued that these methods allow a better understanding of vehicle characteristics and progress development more rapidly than using subjective techniques alone.
Prediction of the ride and handling characteristics of a vehicle at the design stage is only possible in very general terms, and this leads to lengthy development work being carried out on the preproduction prototype. Continuing and future research programs are expected to lead to closer correlation of subjective and objective results and the verification and refinement of a mathematical model for use as a tool for the prediction of handling behavior at the design stage.