Safety has always been paramount when developing technologies for commercial vehicles. However, as the industry advances into vehicle autonomy the safety connotations are heightened in relation to protecting drivers, other road users and cargo. To test effectively requires diverse testing capabilities that simulate a variety of scenarios in a range of environments.
A robust testing infrastructure
To test a new system, it has to be put through a range of scenarios to ensure it's proven as safe no matter the weather and road conditions a commercial vehicle has to endure. WABCO has invested in specialized test facilities for this purpose. Each of these test centers features a range of surfaces to simulate likely on-road conditions a vehicle would have to endure. Additionally, WABCO has also invested in advanced facilities to help develop and prove the technologies for tomorrow WABCO's four test facilities are spread across the world. This means the technology can be tested in different conditions and environments. These test centers are situated in Rovaniemi, Finland; Jeversen, Germany; Wroclaw, Poland and Chennai, India. The Wroclaw test center in Poland has recently opened in January 2020. It extends WABCO existing production facilities by 1100 square meters and includes new testing areas and laboratories (880 square meters) — with climatic chambers and three development lines of valve prototypes.
WABCO's first test track, Rovaniemi, opened in 1988 and plays host to a rigorous winter testing program that sees typical temperature s ranging from -12° C (10,4 °F) down to -40°C (-40°F). This allows WABCO to test its systems in sub-freezing temperatures and on icy, snow-covered roads.
A typical winter test program sees WABCO engineers and technicians log approximately 1,800 man-days for conducting tests. This rigorous testing schedule enables WABCO vehicles fitted with the latest technology to be assessed for performance and safety under extreme conditions.
- A 350 meter (383 yards) long asphalt test lane with an added 100 meter (328 feet) heated portion to carry out brake testing on a high-friction surface.
- A 350 meters (383 yards) long icy test lane to carry out low-friction brake testing and simulates how technology might react on an icy road.
- A 1.35 km (0.84 mile) long vehicle dynamics test area with a diameter of 280 meters (306 yards) used for larger maneuvers such as turns, to test how the technology fares in all possible road situations.
Situated near Hanover, close to WABCO's centers for engineering, innovation, research, development and manufacturing, this test track has been open since 1995.
In 2009 the track was extended to add to WABCO's global testing capabilities. This makes the track a safe and efficient space to test vehicles at high speeds. As a result, it offers optimum conditions to test WABCO's innovative braking and stability control systems.
This test facility is undergoing another expansion with a completion date of Q1 2020. This 18 million euro test track expansion is a major investment that supports the development and testing of WABCO's next generation of advanced systems. It's closely linked to the 25 million euro investment in the new Technology and Innovation Center in Hanover that was opened in August 2018.
As the mobility of tomorrow will be shaped by automated and networked driving, this extension has been planned to include an additional track area of about 3.6 km to test lane keeping technologies, advanced emergency braking systems (AEBS) at high speed, active steering and platooning.
- A 2,000 meters (1.24 miles) long oval with two steep curves and two 550 meter-long (602 yards) straight sections consisting of different road surfaces — This is used to simulate a wide range of different real- world road conditions.
- A 100 meter radius (328 feet) circle with a 30 meters (98 feet) road width — This adds further test program options for maneuvering and turning and is usually used to test braking and stability control.
- A 56,000 square meters (67,000 square yards) vehicle dynamics test area with a 220 meters (241 yards) diameter — This is used to test a wide range of maneuvers and gives a truck enough space to drive around as if it were on a road.
This state-of-the-art test track was opened in 2001 and offers a number of different surfaces for braking, including high friction asphalt and low friction basalt; wet surfaces including ceramic; and dry areas too. This makes the center perfect for traction control testing.
An ongoing commitment to testing
- A 1.35 km (0.84 mile) straight line used for brake testing.
- A 70 meters maximum (77 yards) braking area width.
- The track provides a 325 meters (356 yards) long asphalt portion; a 225 meters (246 yards) long blue basalt portion and a 110 meters (120 yards) long ceramic portion. These different surfaces provide different levels of grip to simulate low- to high-friction road conditions.
Continually developing testing infrastructure is a crucial part of WABCO's plans for the future. As the pace of technology development accelerates to satisfy the industry's growing demands, WABCO continues to invest for the future. Its ever-expanding infrastructure is a testament to WABCO's focus on bringing safe and proven technologies to advance the needs of the commercial vehicle industry.