New Ford test center simulates worst roads in the world

New Ford test center simulates worst roads in the world image

Text: Eric Tipan / Photos: | posted February 19, 2016 08:52

Ford opens up test center to help create sturdier chassis system

If the government gave me a peso for every time I had to pony up for repairs caused by potholes in the Philippines, I’d be able to buy a new car annually.

Sadly this out-of-pocket expense is something we all have to simply grin and bear until someone builds us a nearly unbreakable chassis system.

I personally don’t know how long the wait will but Ford Motor Company has began the initiative by opening up a test center in Lommel, Belgium that replicates some of the world’s worst roads so that engineers may design and build a better chassis system for Ford.

The Lommel Proving Ground is composed of an almost 2-kilometer road peppered with the nastiest potholes the world has ever seen and road hazards that include granite blocks, speed bumps and cobblestone. Plus, it also has with 80 kilometers worth of some 100 extreme surfaces copied from various parts of the world.

Inspiration for these imperfections come from three years worth of research on roads in Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, and the U.K., as well as Asia, Australia, North America and South America.

“From a rutted traffic junction in China to a bumpy German side-street, this road is a rogues’ gallery of the most bruising surfaces that our customers might encounter. By incorporating these real-world challenges into our test facilities we can develop future vehicles to better cope with challenging conditions,” said Eric-Jan Scharlee, durability technical specialist, at Ford’s Lommel Proving Ground, in Belgium.

Engineers drive Ford units specially equipped with sensors to record loads and strains on the suspension up to 74 kilometers per hour. Data is taking and studied in order to design and develop future models can withstand these kinds of stresses on the chassis and suspension.