According to company information, the so-called Driver-in-the-Loop Simulator (DIL) is able to calculate the vehicle dynamics parameters of the tyre and of the respective test vehicles. The adaptability of the simulator is supposed to provide the test drivers with subjective driving impressions. Dr. Boris Mergell, Head of Research and Development of the Tyre Area at Continental, explains: “We would like to actively create the virtual development process of the automotive industry in the tyre area too. The new simulator combines state-of-the-art technology with the irreplaceable treasure of experiences that our professional test drivers have. Continental belongs to the pioneers using this innovative hybrid test technology.”
As crucial development steps and related test arrangements will be transferred to the virtual world, the tyre manufacturer plans saving time, costs and resources in the real world. According to people responsible for the company, the logistic demands of different physical tests will be significantly reduced, because essential parameters can be checked in the simulator. The simulator will be fed with data of the respective vehicle model, for which the tyre is to be developed. Moreover, Continental will add data concerning rubber compound, tyre architecture and tread design.
According to information from Continental, the investment in new test technologies also stands for efforts to increase sustainability. “When our test drivers sit in the cockpit of a simulator and spend less time in a driving seat in the future, each year about 100,000 fewer kilometres will be spent on real roads or test courses. Moreover, we will be able to save about 10,000 test tyres per year”, mentions Dr. Holger Lange, Head of Passenger Car Tyre Development for Original Equipment Business at Continental. So far, the final adaptation of tyres has depended on a high number of test tyres for real use scenarios. The goal will be to build a considerably lower number of prototypes thanks to the use of the simulator. The use of the manufacturer’s plant Ansible Motion is to start at Contidrom in mid 2022.