March 3, 2006
Mercedes-Benz develops “virtual driver” to test climate controls
Stuttgart, Germany – Mercedes-Benz has developed computer simulations that “send” vehicles on virtual test drives, and calculate the interior air and temperature distribution under different weather conditions. The model is based on research carried out with a large number of male and female drivers, who provided information about their personal comfort and the temperatures at which they felt most comfortable. The SLK-Class is the first passenger car to use the test.
Interior climate control is complex, because vehicle speed, temperature, level of sunlight and humidity change constantly when a vehicle moves, and the air conditioning system must respond rapidly and flexibly to create a uniform standard of comfort.
The program, called TIM (Thermo-physiological Interior Model) enables engineers to establish the ideal output for the heating and air conditioning systems, and the size and number of ventilation vents required. The program simulates most of the human body in a total of fourteen areas, taking into account blood circulation and relative heat generation.