Headlamp development requires testing, testing, testing
Who’s responsible for ensuring that the headlamps installed in a Mercedes-Benz vehicle measure up to the brand’s high safety standards? This is where the light systems testers from Sindelfingen come into play. And because car lighting systems naturally can’t demonstrate their strengths in daylight, most of their testing takes place at night. Today, however, a new technology — the night-driving simulator — is enabling the developers to conduct many of the necessary testing scenarios during the daytime.
“For us, one advantage of the simulator is that it enables us to reduce the number of night drives,” says Hauser. It’s easy to understand why he and his colleagues have welcomed this innovation: During the summer months they have to wait until late evening before it gets dark enough for them to test the lighting systems under real-life conditions. In the winter the sun already sets in the afternoon, but going on test drives when it’s snowy or there’s black ice on the road is no fun either.
But of course the innovative simulator offers not only greater convenience for the testers but many more advantages besides. It enables the light experts to test the headlamps much more intensely in a shorter period of time — without needing to do more driving on the road. The simulator also makes practical testing much easier: “Thanks to the simulator, we are completely independent of weather conditions, and we can simulate a whole range of scenarios at the push of a button,” Hauser says. Besides, in the simulator the light developers can repeat exactly the same driving situation as often as they like. As a result, they need to change only a few parameters in order to see at once how the light pattern has changed. Apropos parameters, a light simulator can of course also simulate headlamps before thgey even exist as physical components that can be touched (and installed). That way, the results of the testing can be incorporated into decision-making early on in the development process.