Continental is investing in a state-of-the-art dynamic driving simulator in order to develop its premium tyres for the original equipment business.
The high-tech installation from manufacturer Ansible Motion will go into operation in mid-2022 at Continental’s largest European tyre test centre, the Contidrom in Wietze near Hanover.
It is a driver-in-the-loop simulator (DIL) that calculates exact driving dynamics parameters of the tyres and those of the respective test vehicle. Thanks to its high mobility, the simulator can provide Continental’s professional test drivers with subjective driving impressions, just like tyre tests on the test track.
Test drivers are expected experience new tyre developments in the most diverse virtual test scenarios and driving situations.
The new driving simulator is said to bring significant benefits for tyre development – and thus for Continental’s customers.
When decisive development steps and the associated test arrangements are shifted to the virtual world, this saves time, costs and valuable resources in the real world. The logistical effort of a wide variety of physical tests, for example, is significantly reduced because crucial parameters can be checked in the simulator.
This is because the simulator is fed with the data of the particular vehicle model for which the new tyre is being developed. This is supplemented by Continental’s data on rubber compound, tyre architecture and tread design.
Each test cycle completed in the driving simulator instead of on real roadways means fewer test tyres that need to be built.
Continental’s goal is to be the most progressive tyre manufacturer in terms of environmental and socially responsible business practices by 2030.
To achieve this, Continental is investing significantly in innovative technologies and processes along the entire value chain. The new driving simulator supports this with concrete figures from the real world.
“If our test drivers sit in the simulator cockpit in the future and less at the wheel of a vehicle, around 100,000 kilometres less will be completed each year on real roads or test tracks,” explains Dr. Holger Lange, head of passenger tyre development for Continental’s original equipment business.
“We can also save around 10,000 test tyres per year,” he adds. “Until now, the final tuning of tyres to real-life application scenarios always required the construction of a large number of test tyres. The aim is to have to build significantly fewer such prototypes in the future thanks to the simulator.”