Buick Virtually Clones Extreme Roads
October 13, 2010
by Ron Montoya
Perhaps inspired by Lexus' recent showboating of its driving simulator, Buick announced today that it has created a road scanner that can create a micro-detailed 3D digital representation of any real-world road surface to within one millimeter of accuracy. The research team focuses its efforts on recreating some of the most challenging roads in the world, which they then use to virtually drive Buick prototypes to test for quality and reliability.
One of the extreme roads the team has recreated is the one leading to Mexico's Cerro del Cubilete shrine. This cobblestone road is filled with curves and bumps that tax the limits of any car's suspension, the engineers said. "Customers who drive on that road complain about steering rack noise," said Mine Tasci, one of the engineers on the project. "That's why we wanted to recreate this road so that we can test and ensure that our vehicles are up to the challenge of driving on roads like this one."
Buick says that it submits new vehicles to rigorous virtual testing well before a physical prototype ever sees the light of day. This allows their engineers to find and address issues early in the development cycle.
Video at the link.