Iedere keer als ik bij mijn schoonouders op bezoek ben, kom ik thuis met een virtuele stapel foto’s van testauto’s, met name van Mercedes-Benz. Dat is binnenkort helaas verleden tijd, als het persbericht van Daimler hier onder mag geloven.
Daimler AG has begun using the first section, or module, of its new testing centre at Immendingen, near Tuttlingen, Germany. Playing an integral role in keeping operations going there is the Unimog U430. The 300 hp model with a power output of 220 kW delivering up to 1200 Nm of torque is tasked with ensuring the test section is constantly accurate.
On this circuit, new cars, prototypes and test vehicles are put through their paces on rough surfaces consisting of gravel, sand or other materials. For the 1.2 km course to provide consistent, reproducible results, the track has to be regularly maintained.
The engineers at the Daimler AG testing centre in Immendingen chose one of the company’s own products for the task. The Mercedes-Benz Unimog brand offers the Group a model series capable of tackling just about any job. Usually when the Unimog goes to work on the streets this involves snow-ploughing, cutting or cleaning duties. But here we are talking about creating dirty road conditions with scientific precision. A grader with a sprayer system at the front of the U 430 ensures the surface of the test course is correctly levelled. And with a rear-mounted ripper the Unimog is also equipped to loosen any sections that are too heavily compacted.
A 4200-litre tank to help the weather
The Unimog carries a 4200-litre tank on its platform. This enables water to be fed to the front sprayer if the weather conditions fail to supply the level of moisture prescribed by the engineers or if the chemical constituency of the surface material is incorrect.
The workplace of the 300 hp Unimog with 12-tons cross-weight is dominated by ergonomic levers and joysticks. The front and rear implements are controlled by a joystick, while the Unimog with the so called Easydrive (hydrostatic drive mode) can creep forwards or backwards.
Reducing test drives on the public highway
The Unimog U 430 will be one of the important factors helping Daimler to take vehicle testing off the public highway and into a self-contained area. With the establishment of the Immendingen Testing and Technology Centre the Sindelfingen test engineers have stated their intention to move the majority of test drives in Baden-Württemberg to this site.
The Immendingen Testing and Technology Centre will comprise a large number of modules when completed. Key elements of the testing site will include the three-lane oval circuit as well as the urban and extra-urban roads which together will give a condensed impression of the motorist’s normal driving experience.