Continental is employing a new dedicated vehicle for reproducible tire testing performed indoors under controlled conditions. The AVA permits precise testing of both the wet and dry braking performance of Continental’s passenger car tires.
AVA stands for Analytic Vehicle AIBA, and AIBA stands for Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer. The AVA gives Continental engineers the ability to test tires independent of the test vehicle’s specific characteristics.
“Our analytic vehicle AVA helps us to analyze the performance of our premium tires in even greater detail and systematically develop them,” said Boris Mergell, Head of Research and Development of Continental’s Tires group sector. “The performance of the tire during braking is essential for the safety of the vehicle. For this reason, we make great efforts to analyze our tires as precisely as possible.”
AVA launches to a speed of 40 mph using an electromagnetic linear drive, like the kind that catapults some roller coasters and then drives itself using onboard electric motors and battery. Four of the tires are driven by the electric motors and the other two are the test tires, which try to brake against the driven wheels.
The electric motors’ high torque ensures a steady speed, while the electric brake-by-wire on the braked wheels has faster, more accurate response than a traditional hydraulic system, ensuring the validity and repeatability of test results.
“Our AVA determines the transmission of forces between the tire and the road surface, while various slipping states, so-called ‘µ-slip curves’, are precisely reproducible,” explained Meletis Xigakis, head of global tire testing at Continental. "With the state-of-the-art measuring technology we measure all of the forces which act between the tire and the road surface during braking," he continued. "We can compare our tires and their various compound compositions even more precisely and optimize them for their special uses.”
Continental opened the 75-meter Automated Indoor Braking Analyzer test track at the Contidrom proving grounds near the company’s Hannover, Germany headquarters in 2012. Its five alternative road surfaces can be swapped hydraulically to suit the specific test. This provides the ability to do 100,000 braking tests a year on dry, wet, or icy roads.