Immendingen has a key role in the development of the mobility of the future: this is where #mercedesbenz Cars is consolidating its worldwide vehicle testing, including the further development of alternative drives such as hybrids and electric vehicles under the product and technology brand EQ.
Future assistance systems and automated driving functions are also tested here. The Test and Technology Center Immendingen was officially opened in September 2018 after a construction time of around three and a half years. Immendingen is located in Baden-Württemberg, 130 kilometres to the south of Stuttgart and 40 kilometres to the north of Radolfzell on Lake Constance.
Mercedes-Benz is currently creating around 300 new jobs in Immendingen. Already now, around 250 employees are working on more than 30 different test stretches on which different driving conditions can be simulated. A particular focus is placed on the four strategic areas for the future, Connected, Autonomous, Shared and Electric. Daimler has grouped these under the acronym CASE.
“High-tech vehicles require high-tech testing. Our Test and Technology Center in Immendingen has numerous facilities for testing and perfecting new technologies, including alternative drives and driving assistance systems. At the same time we can relieve traffic congestion, for example by relocating our endurance testing to our test site,” says Markus Schäfer, member of the Board of Management of Daimler AG, responsible for Group Research & #mercedesbenz Cars Development.
“Steep, narrow pass roads as in the Alps, wide, multi-lane highways as in North America, tedious stop-and-go traffic as in a southern European city: many traffic situations can be realistically simulated on the test site. A great deal can be calculated by computer, but in the end test drives on proper roads are indispensable. In the process we repeatedly find that reality always has surprises in store which the computer has not considered,” says Reiner Imdahl, Head of the TTC. “The municipality of Immendingen was a real stroke of luck for us. We and the Test and Technology Center were made welcome from the start, and we were received with open arms.” The TTC was constructed on a former exercise ground owned by the German army. When developing the route layout, intensive use was made of the impressive topography with its different levels and altitudes from 660 to 880 metres above sea level1.
What is known as the ‘Bertha’ area for evaluation and testing of highly automated vehicles provides the engineers with a 100,000 square metre test module designed for automated driving. The manoeuvres performed here are especially focussed on automated driving and safety functions for present and future driving assistance systems on the way to autonomous driving. Challenging and complex traffic situations can be reproduced highly precisely and as often as desired. For example, the Bertha area makes it possible to test safety-relevant situations at motorway speeds, or merging/lane-changing situations at entries, and to verify collision prevention functions in convoy and crossing traffic.
The inner city module has 1.5 kilometres of city roads with various junctions for testing driving assistance systems, car-to-X communication and automated driving under realistic conditions. For example, it is possible to realistically simulate communication between highly automated and driverless vehicles as a contribution to traffic safety in inner city areas. An overview of all the test track modules can be found here.
Technological progress in harmony with nature
In 2011, after an extensive selection process during which around 120 sites in Baden-Württemberg were assessed, Daimler AG decided to focus its plans for a new Test and Technology Center on the Immendingen location. Right from the start, the company enjoyed broad support from the municipality and the local population. The construction work began with a ground-breaking ceremony in early 2015, on one of three sites formerly used by the German army as part of the Franco-German Brigade from 1996 onwards. The first module, the ‘rough track and soiling stretch’, was opened in September 2015. This is where vehicle durability is tested under particularly tough road conditions. The aim was to take individual test modules into operation while the construction work was in progress, so as to ensure uninterrupted testing.
During the extensive construction activities the company worked together closely with nature conservation and environmental protection organisations, conducting a constructive and critical dialogue. The objective was to make technological progress possible in harmony with nature. For example, habitats for plants and animals with wooded and green areas were created on the Immendingen site. Furthermore, the entire site has a corridor allowing passage for wild animals. Flocks of sheep inhibit the growth of bushes on grassed areas. Three llamas protect the flocks from attack by foxes. All in all, Daimler implemented compensatory and replacement nature conservation measures covering an area of 625 hectares. In this way the TTC is a prime example of Daimler’s sustainability strategy (see below).
Footage Link Test and Technology Center Immendingen
1 Sea level: fixed level from which altitude measurements are made