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Daimler mobile simulator Daimler Trucks

Drivers testing Daimler Trucks' digital systems with simulator

Daimler Trucks says it’s taking its mobile vehicle simulator on the road for the first time.

Truck drivers will have the opportunity to 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. The company said feedback from testers goes into further development work at Daimler Trucks.

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

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

“Feedback from truck drivers after initial test runs is very positive,” said Dr Christian Ballarin, head of advanced engineering at Daimler Trucks. “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—and thus also with the appreciation.”

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

Two experts from Daimler Trucks are present during the 20-minute simulator tests to observe and record reactions and statements. In addition, sensors record driver movements, allowing for further conclusions about the system’s user-friendliness.

“A big advantage of our mobile test lab is that it brings us to the drivers, not the other way round,” Ballarin said. “By having drivers test in their professional environment, their feedback is even more authentic.

“This represents a huge benefit for our development work.”

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