Truck drivers test new digital vehicle systems in mobile simulator

Wednesday, July 10, 2019

For the first time, development engineers from Daimler Trucks will be on the road with a mobile vehicle simulator for user tests in the coming weeks. Truck drivers can test prototypes of future digital operating menus as well as new app offers in the simulator. The prototypes are based on the existing systems of the new Mercedes-Benz Actros. Feedback from the testers goes directly into further development work at Daimler Trucks.

The simulator is fitted in the rear of a Mercedes-Benz V-Class, and the developers will stop at motorway rest areas along major traffic routes in the Stuttgart area in July.

The mobile simulator enables the Daimler experts to meet the drivers in their usual working environment. On the one hand, this ensures more reliable test results, and on the other hand, the developers can address more truck drivers for the tests in a shorter time. The simulation uses state-of-the-art virtual reality technology with 3D models and measurement sensors.

Dr Christian Ballarin, head of advanced engineering Daimler Trucks for active safety, autonomous driving and connectivity, said feedback from truck drivers after initial test runs is very positive.

“The drivers are pleased that we actively involve them in the further development of the operating systems that they use every day in their daily work. A big advantage of our mobile test lab is that it brings us to the drivers, not the other way round. By having drivers test in their professional environment, their feedback is even more authentic. This represents a huge benefit for our development work.”

While testing, the truck drivers wear virtual reality 3D glasses in which they see the digital image of the truck cockpit and driving situations. In addition, the drivers physically hold the related truck multifunction steering wheel in their hands. Steering wheel and 3D simulation are linked. In this first step of the new test series, the Daimler engineers are mainly investigating the user-friendliness of the menu navigation in future cockpit screens, as well as the acceptance of the app portfolio by truck drivers.

Two experts from Daimler Trucks are present during the tests in the mobile simulator and observe and record the reactions and statements of the truck drivers. In addition, sensors record the movements of the drivers, which allow further conclusions about the user-friendliness of the systems. A test takes about 20 minutes. The selection of the participants takes place by pure chance on site at the rest areas by the Daimler developers, and the tests are completely anonymous.