Daimler held an opening ceremony for its new €200-million Immendingen Test and Technology Center in the municipality northwest of Lake Constance. A particular focus is placed on the four strategic future areas of connectivity (connected), autonomous driving (autonomous), flexible use (shared) and electric drive (electric). Daimler has summarized these under the term “CASE.”
Immendingen will play a key role in developing the mobility of the future: Here, we are bringing together our worldwide vehicle testing and will, among other things, further develop alternative drive systems such as hybrids and electric vehicles of the EQ product and technology brand, as well as testing future assistance systems and autonomous driving functions.—Dieter Zetsche, Chairman of the Board of Management of Daimler AG and Head of Mercedes-Benz Cars
Approximately 300 jobs will be created at Daimler in Immendingen. 170 employees are already developing and testing on more than 30 different test tracks, on which various driving conditions can be simulated.
High-tech vehicles require high-tech testing. Our Test and Technology Center in Immendingen offers us many possibilities to test and optimize new technologies, including alternative drive systems and driver assistance systems. At the same time, we can reduce traffic on the roads, for example by relocating endurance testing to our test site.—Ola Källenius, Member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, Group Research & Mercedes-Benz Cars Development
With the Bertha Area (an area for testing highly automated vehicles), engineers have a test module of 100,000 square meters at their disposal that is specially designed for all topics related to automated driving. The maneuvers performed there focus in particular on automated driving and the safety functions of current and future driver assistance systems along the way to autonomous driving. Challenging and complex traffic situations can be reproduced with high precision and as often as required.
In the Urban District module, driver assistance systems, car-to-x communication and autonomous driving will be tested under real conditions on a total of 1.5 kilometers of urban roads across various intersections. For example, it is possible to simulate under realistic conditions how highly automated and driverless vehicles communicate with each other to help make traffic safer in large cities.
At the opening ceremony, various driving maneuvers demonstrated to the guests the holistic approach to vehicle safety at Mercedes-Benz and gave an insight into research and development for future mobility at Daimler:
Using the example of a possible situation in road traffic, the engineers showed how the coordination of all components affects overall vehicle behavior. With an abrupt lane-change maneuver involving two vehicles at about 60 km/h, the effect on driving stability of careful overall vehicle tuning can be seen in an exemplary and vivid manner.
As an example of the wide-ranging driver assistance functions of modern Mercedes-Benz vehicles, three situations were shown with a so-called GST (guided soft target), a remote-controlled platform with a plastic superstructure. This demonstrates the effect of Active Brake Assist with turn-off function.
Also to be seen was intelligent sensor technology, by which a vehicle makes appropriate decisions for each situation to avoid collisions and unnecessary braking.
With the emergency-lane function of the driver assistance system, Mercedes-Benz is taking a further step towards improving road-traffic safety in traffic jams and is setting an example in this respect. If a traffic jam is detected on a highway and the vehicle is driving at less than 60 km/h, it adjusts its movements to the surrounding vehicles like in a swarm, as well as to detected visual lane markings.
Automated testing allows safety-critical maneuvers to be tested in enclosed areas with maximum accuracy. In the near future, these maneuvers will also be possible without a driver on the Bertha Area, with appropriate safety measures and radio communication.
The new Daimler Test and Technology Center in Immendingen has been built on the site of the former Oberfeldwebel-Schreiber Barracks, and is thus a prime example of the successful conversion of former military sites.