June 22, 2006
New Ford test track will speed products to market
Dearborn, Michigan – The Ford Motor Company has unveiled one of the industry’s most advanced test tracks, as part of its efforts to streamline product development and shave more than a year off the time it takes to bring new vehicles to market. The company has spent US$43 million to transform its historic proving ground into the Dearborn Development Center (DDC).
Vehicles under development will be driven more than one million miles a year on flooded asphalt, rutted roads and on high-speed, high-banked curves. The site also includes a new 43-acre vehicle dynamics area, asphalt wet pad, steering and handling course and straightaway. Engineers use the testing areas to develop and fine-tune a vehicle’s driving characteristics, and for safety validation. The 81-year-old Dearborn Proving Ground was previously a single-purpose facility, used for fuel economy measurement and routine testing.
The DDC is adjacent to Ford’s recently-opened Safety Innovation Center and crash barrier building; both are part of a previously-announced US$65 million investment in advanced vehicle testing technology.