WABCO posted this extensive look at the day in the life of one of its test engineers.
BERN, Switzerland – When developing commercial vehicle motion control technologies that are used on public roads and in haulage yards around the world, it is important that everything is thoroughly tested for both usability and safey
The development of these systems would not be possible without rigorous and methodical test engineers putting in the hours on our test tracks. These engineers are the drivers that get behind the wheel of the trucks to put every new piece of technology through its paces.
These drivers perform testing activities that cover all aspects of a new piece of technology, and in a wide range of operating conditions. Having competent test engineers who can take a truck through a series of maneuvers, both simple and complex, at one of WABCO’s three test facilities is a vital part of this.
We caught up with Sebastian Duensing, who is a test engineer responsible for testing braking systems at WABCO.
Getting ready for real-world tests
Before the driver even gets into a truck, significant preparation needs to be done. There’s no point in getting into a vehicle ready to test a new piece of technology if no one is sure what needs to be tested.
Sebastian explained, “We work closely with the customer to understand their needs and requirements for the design and functionality of a new braking system.
“During all the development steps, I’m responsible for supporting the test vehicle and the development team in ensuring that every specific function can be tested.”
All customer requirements are checked with test sessions during the braking system development phase with a view to proving its functionality and its associated safety and reliability.
Preparing the truck
“First I have to study the test cases and maneuvers contained in the test session for the day” Sebastian explained,” then I have to choose the corresponding vehicle and prepare the measurement set up in the truck so I’m able to capture every single piece of data that is required.
“If these tests are for a new software version, then I have to update the control unit of the truck and make sure that every single parameter is set correctly. Once I’ve checked the truck is running fine, I can start the driving maneuvers outlined in the test cases.”
Test cases and driving maneuvers vary a lot.
Sebastian said, “On the one hand, there are tests which can be performed very quickly. Simple braking maneuvers or standstill functions like Hill Start Aid for example, but even these require time to check the precise measurements. On the other hand, other test cases may need a particular set of inputs from within the truck, meaning the maneuver can take longer to get right.”
A day of testing can vary between these complex cases and the more-simple ones.
Sebastian said, “A complex or highly dynamic maneuver may require to be repeated several times until it’s completed correctly. This means that sometimes you can just get a small number of test cases completed in one day.”
Each WABCO test track has a variety of surfaces and testing areas to help engineers like Sebastian test new technology under all sorts of conditions and situations.
Sebastian said, “To thoroughly test a function, such as ABS braking, I repeat the same tests with different speeds on different surfaces, during straight driving or cornering and in transition with other functions. This is to ensure every part of the technology gets tested”.
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