The BMW Group’s new Driving Simulation Centre is taking shape in Munich’s Milbertshofen district. In mid-August, the company began construction of the world’s most advanced facility for the simulation of real-world driving situations at the FIZ Research and Innovation Centre in the north of the city. The new building provides unique possibilities for virtual testing of advanced driving assistance systems and innovative display and control concepts.

Automated driving is one of the main technology areas which the BMW Group has designated as being of central importance in its NUMBER ONE > NEXT corporate strategy.

Advanced driving simulators have become an indispensable tool, especially for the development and testing of driving assistance systems and display and control concepts. They allow the functionality and suitability for customer use of new systems to be tested in detail while still at a very early stage of development. The driving simulator serves as a link between the functional testing of individual hardware and software components on the one hand and road testing with complete systems on the other.

At the heart of the new Driving Simulation Centre are two innovative driving simulators specifically designed to meet requirements for testing highly complex automated driving systems.

The systems to be tested are fitted in a vehicle mock-up attached to a platform inside the dome of the driving simulator. Mounted on an electromechanical hexapod system, the dome can be moved both longitudinally and transversely by an electric drive while also being turned. In order to give the drivers a realistic visual experience of the simulated driving situation, the dome housing the mock-up is equipped with a projection screen.

In this way, it is possible to create test conditions which until now could only be experienced with real vehicles on the road. When seeking to optimize innovative systems, laboratory testing also has the advantage that selected driving situations can be repeated as often as required.

The new Driving Simulation Centre is therefore ideally placed to meet the ever greater requirements arising from the growing complexity of systems for automated driving. In future, it will allow different driving situations to be reproduced in significantly greater numbers and in more detailed form.

In order to establish both the functional reliability of new systems and their usability, the virtual test drives in the new Driving Simulation Centre will be conducted not only by the development engineers and professional test drivers but also by customers on a regular basis. Analysis of their driving behavior in the simulator and their own subsequent assessment provide important findings for the development process as it progresses. This means that, long before the first mile of actual road driving has been performed, the new Driving Simulation Centre is able to indicate clearly how well a new system will stand up to the everyday reality of a vehicle’s life on the road.

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