The Himalayas Come to Berlin

The new climate roller dynamometer for high-altitude testing permits virtual drives up to an altitude of 5,300 meters – also important for RDE tests

IAV’s new climate roller dynamometer for high-altitude testing has been in service since the beginning of the year. The hightech test rig is capable of simulating altitudes of up to 5,300 meters as well as temperatures of between minus 30 and plus 40 degrees Celsius which is why many IAV customers also use it for RDE tests. There are only two facilities of its kind in the world – in Berlin and in China. Besides passenger cars, this dynamometer can also be used for light commercial vehicles of up to seven meters in length and 2.95 meters in height. A particular aspect is its integrated automation concept which IAV has developed in cooperation with partners.

The world’s highest mountain passes in the Himalayas and in the Andes get up to altitudes of over 5,000 meters. Vehicles also need to work reliably under the extreme conditions prevailing there – thin air and, in some cases, very low temperatures. So far, verifying this has only been possible on location with complicated tests involving great efforts and high costs. The test drivers are also restricted by the season and unforeseeable local weather conditions. This calls for tests on dynamometers that dispense with a large part of these test drives in real-world conditions.

This is exactly what IAV’s climate roller dynamometer for altitude testing can do. It delivers reproducible results under extreme conditions at any time, reducing the need for test drives in high mountains. This saves time and money, and helps to protect the environment. “The high-altitude climate roller dynamometer lets us generate extreme climatic conditions, such the combination of ‘hot and cold’, as in the Himalayas, as well as ‘high and hot’, as on Mount Kilimanjaro, and simulate them all year round. Our customers benefit from added certainty at an early stage in the development process while also shortening development cycles and reducing costs”, says Gerhard Buschmann, Executive Vice President for Powertrain and Power Engineering at IAV. The aim is to make between 80 and 90 percent of real-world test drives superfluous in the future.

Automation by combining several tools

A particular aspect of the high-altitude climate roller dynamometer is the integrated automation concept: Because available automation systems for roller dynamometers do not meet the requirements, integrated automation software comprising a combination of several tools has been produced in cooperation with Horiba, our long-standing partner. In conjunction with a roller dynamometer set for allwheel drives, Horiba supplies the STARS for Vehicle and VETS ONE application software.

STARS plays a key part in automating the climate roller dynamometer: It is used for connecting and controlling all of the measuring instruments, the dynamometer roller, the safety equipment, IAV’s tools as well as the robot driver system. The VETS ONE program provides all driving and emission cycles. To simulate free driving, IAV has opted for the “CarMaker” software solution from IPG – a completely new tool for the roller dynamometer application which permits real-world road driving on the climate roller dynamometer.

The structure and use of CarMaker are geared toward real-world test driving in which the driver performs specific maneuvers in a test vehicle on any chosen route. In virtual test driving, the test drive remains reproducible at all times – in spite of being able to vary vehicle and journey data, driver behavior as well as operating strategy. Driving cycles and real-world journeys are easily simulated under real-world conditions with the user-friendly whole-vehicle
models, a high-performance driver model as well as the intuitive make-up of journeys and driving maneuvers. “This is particularly important for RDE tests. The car undergoes exactly the same road resistances as in real-world cornering or on real-world hill climbs”, Buschmann says.

Absolute highlight

Buschmann sees the facility as a new flagship for IAV. “It’s an absolute highlight that has put us at the pinnacle of all engineering partners. All of our colleagues involved are extremely proud of it, and even our customers get a gleam in their eyes when they set sight on the new climate roller dynamometer for high-altitude testing.”