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Carmakers put their vehicles through the most extreme environments available – Death Valley, the Arctic Circle, and the Nurburgring. But let’s face it – most cars will never be used in these types of driving conditions – wouldn’t it be more productive to see how they fare in the real world? And that’s just what Mercedes-Benz did… in a way. They’ve built a new simulator, and it’s so much more than a screen and a wheel.
The simulator, which is part of a 160 million euro testing and development facility, uses a six-legged platform that supports the test cell to simulate full three-dimensional movement. To mimic extreme transverse movements, the simulator moves from side to side using a 39-foot rail system. Plus, the driver is engaged by a giant 360-degree panoramic screen.
The computers used with the simulator sample driver and car reactions at 1,000 times per second, and this data will be used not only to help make safer cars, but also used to write better software and innovate new solutions.
Another mark in the pro column for the simulator is that it offers a risk-free environment, plus its able to run tests they couldn’t do on real roads. It also allows Mercedes to safely conduct tests with actual drivers who push a car past its limits, all while still gathering meaningful data.