World Map of Proving Grounds
Any type of car in the market has been thoroughly tested – to ensure its safety and endurance. Computers in labs can do simulations but testing vehicles under real driving conditions is an important part of industrial vehicle development.
Proving grounds or test tracks serve the automotive industry for on-road and off-road vehicle testing. In the development process, the performance of prototype vehicles is put to test in different environments and driving situations.
Like noisy race tracks, proving grounds are most often situated away from populated zones. Also testing prototypes is confidential – not for curious eyes. They usually cover large enclosed areas designed with kilometers of roads or tracks to test vehicle driving features and endurance under almost any condition.
One of the oldest, longest, most famous, most complex purpose-built race tracks in the world, is located at the German town Nürburg in Rhineland-Palatinate. Built in the 1920s Nürburgring has been a proving ground – and race track – for generations of drivers. Here lap times are even used to promote high-performance vehicles.
Proving grounds are an efficient means of qualifying the durability of vehicles and their components. These test facilities expose industry prototypes to conditions that the final product will experience either in extremes or during its whole lifetime. They achieve this by accelerating damage accumulation rates, so any failures are detectable within a limited time.
Safety is a priority and vehicles are often tested under extreme conditions and speeds – a maximum possible diversity in drive conditions and facilities to assess the working of various systems and parts of the vehicle. Test tracks enable and support the engineering tasks of validation or verification, and also serve for inspection, and certification or homologation.
The bigger OEMs in the automotive industry such as General Motors, FCA, Daimler, and others all have their in-house proving grounds and test centers to test their vehicles. But there are several privately owned proving grounds where any company can reserve its seat for testing.
Now, the world’s major automotive proving grounds have literally been put on the map by the Slovenian test and measurement supplier, Dewesoft – with photos of the tracks and an accompanying article on the different types of tests and tracks.
Dewesoft also brings forward a case describing the application of Mobile Mesh WIFI at the Utah Motorsports Complex located in Grantsville, USA. It explains how wireless not only eliminates costly and sometimes fragile cables but also allows test equipment in moving vehicles to maintain a constant connection to computer clients for real-time data display and processing.
Proving grounds for automobiles most often include high-speed tracks, slow lane tracks, off-road tracks, and custom tracks. Generally the tracks are designed to suit specific company demands, fit local conditions, and conform to both national and international testing and validation rules. However, no proving ground or test track is designed the same way.
Take a look at the detailed list of the most significant proving grounds
Check out the list of automotive proving grounds listed by Automotive Testing International here .