It is used to simulate a range of extreme weather conditions under one roof.
Here is the challenge. “It is so realistic that even the most experienced human test drivers may become tired or unwell, for example when undertaking altitude testing,” said Ford.
How did Ford bridge these challenges? Test robots – Shelby and Miles. With these robots, a test can be perfectly replicated multiple times.
“For human drivers, wind tunnel testing – in particular at high altitude – requires numerous safety protocols, such as having oxygen bottles, medical equipment and a paramedic on-site, while driver health is constantly monitored. Robots can operate at temperatures ranging from -40°C to +80°C as well as at extreme altitudes – and can be set up and programmed for different driving styles. The robot test driver’s legs extend to the accelerator, brake and clutch pedals, with one arm positioned to change gear and the other used to start and stop the engine.”
Real-world testing does continue, however.
“These two new drivers are fantastic additions to the team, as they can take on the challenging endurance tests at high altitudes and in hot temperatures. Once the robot is in the driver’s seat, we can run tests through the night without ever having to worry that the driver will need a sandwich or a bathroom break,” a Ford team member was quoted.
To gain more insight, watch https://youtu.be/ozL4CkniZq0