093-12 2012-12-14

Europe's largest driving simulator in operation

Focus on road safety and energy efficiency

Nighttime driving on rural roads. The driver sees movement out of the corner of his eye – and the car has automatically swerved to avoid the obstacle that appeared out of nowhere. An assistant system recognized the danger. Individuals react very differently to such interventions depending on their disposition and driving experience. It is precisely these reactions that scientists at the University of Stuttgart are now studying using Europe's largest driving simulator. The drive and control technology, developed and supplied by Bosch Rexroth, creates a realistic driving experience with movements in eight different directions and makes it possible to conduct various test series with identical situations.

The test driver gets into the vehicle, which is mounted onto a platform. Instead of an engine and wheels, the body under the hood is filled with electronics. A dome with a 360 degree video projection screen is then lowered, transporting the driver to a completely different environment. When the driver pushes the gas pedal, a perceived acceleration affect presses him into the seat; when he brakes, centrifugal force moves him forward. When viewed from the outside, the dome is moving just ten meters back and forth on rails. At the same time, six telescope legs – known as a hexapod – tilt the platform in a wide range of different angles. To ensure a realistic driving experience, the images and movements have to be perfectly matched. The drive and control system from Bosch Rexroth transforms the image information into the corresponding movements in less than 30 milliseconds. As a basis for comparison: blinking takes an average of 150 milliseconds.

With 4,000 kilograms of payload, the driving simulator from Stuttgart is currently the largest in Europe. Bosch Rexroth has been making ongoing improvements to the technology since the mid-1980s. At the beginning, each simulator was a one-of-a-kind object. The company has since created a kit with electric and hydraulic drives as well as a high-performance control system that includes software. The system covers various weight categories and performance requirements. Simulators equipped with the system have proven their value for numerous automotive manufacturers and research institutes around the world.

The Institute for Internal Combustion Engines and Automotive Engineering (IVK) at the University of Stuttgart and The Research Institute of Automotive Engineering and Vehicle Engines Stuttgart (FKFS) use the simulator to study how different drivers react to the assistant system. The focal points are improved road safety and energy efficiency. Until now, such tests were only realistically possible for the researchers on test courses or in road traffic. They are now able to test even critical situations without risk in an effort to achieve scientifically correct results.

Bosch Rexroth AG is one of the world’s leading specialists in the field of drive and control technologies. Under the Rexroth brand name, the company supplies more than 500,000 customers with tailored solutions for driving, controlling, and moving. Bosch Rexroth is a partner for Mobile Applications, Machinery Applications and Engineering, Factory Automation and Renewable Energies. The company provides customized solutions tailored to the needs and specifications of each individual market. As The Drive & Control Company, Bosch Rexroth develops, produces, and sells components and systems in over 80 countries. As part of the Bosch Group, Bosch Rexroth and its 38,400 associates generated approximately 6.4 billion euros in revenue in 2011.

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The Bosch Group is a leading global supplier of technology and services. In the areas of automotive and industrial technology, consumer goods, and building technology, more than 300,000 associates generated sales of 51.5 billion euros in fiscal 2011. The Bosch Group comprises Robert Bosch GmbH and its roughly 350 subsidiaries and regional companies in some 60 countries. If its sales and service partners are included, then Bosch is represented in roughly 150 countries. This worldwide development, manufacturing, and sales network is the foundation for further growth. Bosch spent some 4.2 billion euros for research and development in 2011, and applied for over 4,100 patents worldwide. With all its products and services, Bosch enhances the quality of life by providing solutions which are both innovative and beneficial.

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Ingrid Alter
Löwentorstraße 68-70
70376 Stuttgart
Phone: +49 711 811-30849