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BMW Building High-Tech Driving Simulation Center in Munich

The $116 million facility will help advance autonomous driving technology.

The BMW Group has started work on a new $116 million Driving Simulation Center in Munich that will help with the company’s testing and development of autonomous driving technology. The new facility will “bring the road into the lab” and is located in Munich’s Milbertshofen district. The new build will cover a total of 123,000 square feet and will be equipped with 14 simulators and labs creating nearly 160 jobs. The facility is expected to be completed in 2020. 

The Driving Simulation Center will allow virtual testing of advanced driving assistance systems, and innovative display and control concepts to move autonomous tech forward. At the heart of the center are two innovative driving simulators. One is a high-dynamic simulator creating movements up to 1.0 G-force. It will be used to test new systems and functions by replicating evading maneuvers, full braking, and hard acceleration. 

The second unit is one that can provide an extremely detailed rendering of real-world driving characteristics and is called the high-fidelity simulator. Braking and accelerating while cornering, driving in roundabouts, and a series of multiple turn-off maneuvers can be reproduced with precision in this simulator’s nearly 4,300 square-foot motion area. 

Challenging urban driving situations can also be realistically reproduced. The virtual test drive scenario is capable of sound simulation as well, which can match the desired situation. Testing of new display and control systems in a wide range of situations is possible in order to analyze the risk of the driver being distracted or the effect of visible, audible, or haptic signals.

The virtual test drives in the new Driving Simulation Center will be conducted by development engineers, professional test drivers, and customers. Analysis of their driving behavior in the simulator and their own assessment will be used to contribute to the development process. This means that, long before the first mile of actual real-world road testing would have been conducted, the new Driving Simulation Center would be able to deliver the usability, efficiency, and reliability quotients of the new systems.