Under the microscope: the new driving simulator: C-Class is the crucial element of the virtual world
October 2010 saw the inauguration of Mercedes-Benz’s new driving simulator at the company’s Technology Centre in Sindelfingen. With its 360° screen, fast electric power system and the twelve metre-long rail for transverse movements, the dynamic driving simulator is the most powerful in the entire car industry.
The real car in the virtual world is a C-Class in which the test driver takes a seat in the testing cell. It can be reprogrammed electronically to mimic the behaviour of every current or future Mercedes model. The testing cell is in the form of a hexapod on six moving supports. In addition to the C-Class itself it includes the projection wall on which a realistic display of the road traffic is shown, along with moving pedestrians, oncoming traffic and houses.
The vehicle controls are linked to the computerised control system of the driving simulator by data lines. When the test driver turns the steering wheel or accelerates, these reactions are registered by the computer control system and have the same effects as in real traffic situations. The scenery on the screen changes constantly and the moving cell simulates the vehicle’s attitude on the road, for example front-end dive when braking. The computer calculates the driving behaviour of the car more than 1000 times per second, issuing the relevant commands to the electrics. It is able to move the cell transversely by up to twelve metres at a maximum speed of ten metres per second (36 km/h).