Test first, build later: Edag Group takes zero prototype lab into operation

Six months after the first announcement, the time has finally come: The EDAG Group, the world’s leading independent engineering service provider, is taking its Zero Prototype Lab in Wolfsburg into operation. The state-of-the-art vehicle dynamics simulation center allows customers from all over the world to test their vehicles and important functions virtually without having to develop prototypes. This makes the development process significantly more efficient and sustainable and also reduces the time to market.

Unique in Europe
Thanks to the latest simulation technology, the Zero Prototype Lab is a unique vehicle dynamics simulation center in Europe. Vehicle movements can be perfectly reproduced in virtual space. The center has three test platforms for research and development in the areas of hardware, software and human machine interface (HMI).

The simulation center is open to all market participants worldwide and offers the chance to drive new vehicles virtually and subjectively experience them. Important functions and their event chains, such as autonomous driving functions, can be tested in conjunction with the driving system function, steering, braking and acceleration. This helps vehicle manufacturers to reduce the construction of cost-intensive prototypes and shorten development cycles, for example. In addition, it is possible to optimize vehicle dynamics in the virtual world on various test sites and race tracks under controlled environmental conditions, regardless of the season. Overall, the use of materials and resources can be reduced, and the CO2 footprint of the development process can be minimized.

Innovation for motorsports
Be it steering feel, behavior at the vehicle’s limits or the chassis: in times of active driving safety and autonomous vehicles, it is getting more and more challenging to test the basic vehicle characteristics. This does not only apply to large series prototypes; the vehicle simulator is also a real asset for motorsport. For racing teams, countless setup options and specific adjustments for drivers and race tracks are absolutely essential. On the driving simulator, a wide range of setups on various race tracks can be developed in the blink of an eye to improve performance.

All the race tracks can be reproduced in the Zero Prototype Lab, allowing drivers to familiarize themselves with the tracks before the start of the season. Individual sequences and parameters can be optimized until the desired lap time and the corresponding driving feel have been achieved. The simulation allows the same test scenario to be run repeatedly under the required conditions – for example road surface, tire material or weather conditions. The wind force can be set to precisely the required intensity, and the same applies to simulating a snowy landscape. Test drives for both applications are therefore no longer dependent on specific seasons.

“With the opening of the Zero Prototype Lab, we are turning over a completely new leaf in vehicle development. Technology developers and vehicle manufacturers all over the world can now reorganize their development process and work significantly faster, more efficiently and more sustainably thanks to precise simulation,” explains Harald Keller, CEO of the EDAG Group from July 1, 2024. “This is how we are driving forward the constant change in vehicle development and the mobility industry, and allow for future-oriented value creation.”

To achieve this, the EDAG Group relies on the latest technology: The Zero Prototype Lab uses the DiM500 Full Spectrum Simulator (DIM500 FSS) from the company VI-grade, which is the largest and most powerful cable-driven simulator for development, racing and research focusing on vehicle dynamics, vehicle movement and driver interaction. It can be used to map vehicle dynamics maneuvers with 1:1 motion cueing. This means that the driver receives realistic movement signals, immerses himself in the virtual environment and can experience a realistic driving sensation. In addition to the DiM500 FSS Simulator, the Zero Prototype Lab also features a VI-grade COMPACT Full Spectrum Simulator and an AutoHawk hardware-in-the-loop platform. As a result, the driving simulators can be connected to existing and future hardware-in-the-loop test benches.

“With the Zero Prototype Lab, we are further expanding our engineering services and supporting the transformation of the mobility industry,” explains Jork Rother, Senior Vice President Vehicle Integration at the EDAG Group. “We are very grateful to our team of experts, who have driven the realization of this project forward after an intensive planning phase, so that we can now carry out the first customer simulations.”

“We are proud that our Driver-in-Motion Full Spectrum Simulator is the centerpiece of the new EDAG Zero Prototype Lab,” adds Guido Bairati, CEO of VI-grade. “With the DiM500 FSS, our most powerful simulator to date, EDAG is taking its engineering services to an unprecedented level. The DiM FSS Simulator is a quantum leap in experimental simulation and seamlessly integrates driving dynamics, motion, vibration and sound to create an immersive and realistic driving experience. I look forward to the exciting customer projects that will be developed in this future-oriented facility and will shape the mobility of tomorrow.”

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