NATRAX – the crown jewel of Indian automotive testing facilities | OVERDRIVE

NATRAX – the crown jewel of Indian automotive testing facilities | OVERDRIVE

um [Music] [Music] [Applause] [Music] is the 75th year for india’s independence now you’ve often seen us at overdrive celebrate this proud moment in style and today is no different we are at a world-class automotive testing facility right here in india and we are going to be celebrating our sense of freedom and nationality with some fantastic cars at the national automotive test tracks on net tracks in short [Music] [Applause] [Music] situated at the heart of india matrax is the ultimate test bed for any automobile brand or enthusiasts who want to put their vehicles through the ultimate tests natrax is home to a plethora of test facilities ranging from endurance tracks and watercourses to simulation labs and a high-speed bold now netrax has been around for a while but this high-speed circuit that you see behind me that was inaugurated recently and that has the attention of overdrive and many other performance enthusiasts out there most luxury cars are restricted to 250 kilometers an hour that feels like a walk in the park on this track you want to up the stakes to 300 kilometers an hour no problem at all in fact the track will say yes absolutely go ahead do it if you have the skills because that bank curve that you see has a speed limit of between 350 to 375 and also a 250 kmph neutral speed what that means is if you were to let go of the steering at that speed it will still make the curve because that’s the way it is banked up the stakes even further you have a vehicle that is even quicker than that or faster than that well you have the long straights for it and motorcycles shouldn’t be a problem either hi abusa why hayabusa go with the h2 in fact yh2 go with the h2r if you have the skills and the guts to do it bottom line is on planeter there are very few places that can actually allow you to legally reach these kind of speeds and it’s a matter of pride that one of those places is right here in india [Music] [Applause] the 11.3 kilometer long track comprises of long straights and heavily cambered curves to create a very nascar-like high-speed bowl required to achieve these speeds and this crown jewel is one of the 14 test tracks at netrax when we design a proving ground one important aspect to be considered or which has been considered is the safety right and as you see uh this is a four-lane high-speed track capable of neutral speed up to 250 kilometers per hour on the curves and then you know you can take up to 375 also with control on steering and all that so when we really go up to that speed obviously we have to be concerned about safety or any eventuality right now for example now let’s talk about the vehicle goes out of control so then uh you must have seen that we have crash barriers on both sides which can absorb the energy and can save to some extent that’s point number one and point number two at such high speed we cannot afford to have any intrusion of any animals and all that so you must have seen that there are animal fencing on both sides so that you know it is free from any animal intrusion and all that so these are the two prime things which have been considered and uh for example to assist in case of an eventuality because of course as far as safety is concerned it involves both active safety and passive safety right active safety is that which our helps in avoiding accidents and passive safety is that which once accident happens you know how do we minimize the injury right now as far as passive safety is concerned as i mentioned like we have let’s say a crash barrier and as for active safety is concerned as i said we have animal fencing right so in addition to that maybe you know if somebody wants to drive in the night we have reflectors and also you know i must also make a mention that we have a modern proving ground management system in the sense that there are cameras placed at every 300 meters you know with which we can monitor the traffic you know right sitting in the track access control and if we feel uh for example now you know this uh is a facility where you know multiple cars can be used so in such case you know if some driver let’s say goes out of control you know if he owes ps or he overtakes and things like that so from the track access control you know we can communicate with the driver well you are you know over speeding or violating the traffic and all that so this is something which also has been considered [Applause] in fact we have some interesting stories lined up on this track so do check those out during our time filming them we also had a chance to take the commissioner of indore and his family for a spin on the track the e63s on the superior tarmac and the physics of this hst makes a 300 kilometer an hour run feel like a walk in the park and we are at 300. you’re sitting next to me and i’m doing 300 kilometers an hour i certainly can’t do any of this speed anywhere else if i do you will certainly jail me for it [Music] complementing the high speed track is the dynamic platform it features a steering pad that has a 300 meter radius and a 1.5 kilometer long stretch of tarmac as well so we are at the dynamics kit pad where of course you can have a bit of fun if you want to sorry my camera one hates me right now but this is what the dynamics kit pad is for and you can also use this long straight to have a bit of straight line fun and especially with a car like this which has such a brilliant launch control system i think it’s even more fun it’s very simple hold down the brake we’ll also do the drag race mode here [Music] this is phenomenal this is phenomenal and it records all of this it tells you how good you have been so let’s let’s look at the report card 0 to 50 10 meter distance 1.48 seconds 0-100 3.72 wow [Music] acceleration top speed corner speed it might mean the world to you and i but velocity is not the only parameter that matters vehicles have to go through a lot more like potholes and ditches and that is why the natrax has these fatigue and endurance test tracks which essentially up the challenge and make the suspension and chassis go through a lot more rigoring tests than what our real world might actually throw at it like for example i’m driving through these little potholes at the moment and then moving on to these cobblestone pathways and compared to similar test beds that you have in some of the other test facilities these cobblestone pathways are not only about varying heights for the cobblestones but also you know varying events as they call it like there is undulation there is elevation change within these cobbled uh pathways there are also potholes that they have suddenly thrown here and there to sort of replicate the kind of conditions that you might encounter when you’re driving on some really really bad patches of road maybe you know like what you might encounter on your way to la dark or even these kind of roads where you have these zigzag pattern potholes which again test how the chassis and the suspension copes up with such sudden changes the sharp bumps that i keep talking about this sort of replicates that and then you also have the twist road now interestingly the twist road unlike most other test beds of similar kind in different countries this one has again a varying degree of height anywhere from 300 mm to 600 mm in fact the experts at natrax tell me that the last time a passenger vehicle used the 600 mm height on this particular kind of twisting test bed was the hummer that long back so you see that you know not every vehicle might require this level of testing but all this facility is right here so if someone wants to use it someone needs to use it for their testing they can [Music] [Applause] in fact there are 28 different modules like herringbone splash road belgian paved road just to name a few to test and fine tune everything from entry hatchbacks to big commercial vehicles [Applause] [Music] so this is a fatigue track what that essentially means that there are different levels of severity so by the end of all the tests it actually ages the car i think i have already put in a few years on this particular ford endeavour and even my back and neck feel like they’re already creaking thankfully i still have my hair [Music] complementing this test bed are tracks with different angles of incline that help test the gradability of passenger and commercial vehicles [Music] manufacturers run a battery of tests on multiple test tracks like these record the data and then feed it to various simulators that will replicate these events on the powertrain suspension steering chassis etc to simulate thousands of kilometers of testing to further accelerate the fatigue on the components [Applause] therefore it is not just the track but also the dynamics and the powertrain labs that play an important role where the big simulators and machines take over thankfully testing vehicles at the dynamics lab does not require a driver at all there are state-of-the-art automated testing equipment out here something like the single axle machinery that you see behind me which is used for the kinematics and compliance test so it will help fine-tune the chassis elements on a related note you also have a 4×4 dynamometer you also have an automated steering system test which will help test the durability fine-tune the steering torque the steering feel so these are all state-of-the-art machinery for example this particular machine behind me can take vehicle loads up to 4 tons with an axle load of 2.2 tons [Applause] this machine is called as spm machine which is suspension parameter measuring machine so all parameters of vehicle suspension we can measure it here see we will drive the vehicle on tracks but where we can do objective and subjective measurement but before that if we have some objective parameters of vehicle then we can evaluate the vehicle on track very in precise manner so suppose what are the parameters that we can evaluate it here so on this machine the all the vehicle dynamics parameters like bounce roll pitch caster camber lateral acceleration uh radial rate tire radiator every parameter we can evaluate here so all that if i i will have all these parameters with me in uh practical then i with that analysis then i will go if i go in uh on the track then my uh this testing would be more successful than without these parameters so we we have this machine here and this is a loan machine in india which is uh having mechanical actuators so no one else is having in india this like this machine we have one steering test rig so before uh testing vehicle over here we will have a steering sample of that vehicle and we will test it there so all steering parameters i will get it there which input i can give it to this machine for dynamic simulation so these are all edible suppose one damper test rig is there so uh the vehicle will have dampers sock absorbers but the shock absorber i don’t know only theoretical value or no so that circuit absorber value i will evaluate on this objective and the force versus velocity curve i will have that i will apply it here so that that second stage will this machine do and third still uh stage we will go on track so all the vehicle design two uh final prototype and uh means build the vehicle build we will have a complete vehicle simulation here of course netrax isn’t a racetrack but it has a handling track that is fit to be one if you want to indulge in some competitive activity of course all of that may not be allowed but this track is about 3.8 kilometers uh so that’s almost as much as the track in chennai the mmrt and it certainly got better tarmac because this is of course for gauging the handling dynamics of a car making sure that you can fine tune everything that you need with respect to handling there is also a similar handling or a dynamics track for two wheelers or three wheelers slightly narrower than this but again something that can be used to fine-tune the handling dynamics for most commuter two-wheelers is what i think i’m not sure if you would want to bring high-speed or high-performance two-wheelers to this particular track to test it out but you could do it on this track where i’m driving right now and of course like all other facilities at natrax this is not only about performance cars or sports cars you can also bring the regular cars over here because a lot of other manufacturers already are [Music] that said unlike racetracks which are designed for speed these handling circuits are narrow and designed to challenge the dynamics of the vehicle with varying gradients tight corners and some off-camber corners as well [Music] well the one you see here is for four-wheelers there’s one for two wheelers as well similarly there are comfort tracks for fine-tuning vehicle nvh on various types of asphalt and concrete surfaces there are also a wet skid pad and a multi-surface braking track to test and ensure that the car’s stability traction control and braking systems are working as intended nutrax also has some challenging off-road tracks which are extensively used for testing of suvs 4×4 drivetrains and even off-road focus tires and components spread across 3.5 kilometers these include surfaces like gravel sand and rods whereas a rocky forest road with elevated boulders and small hillocks has been maintained for the more hardcore off-road vehicles like the thar but then there is the all-important question if manufacturers like mahindra already have their own test tracks why would they come to netrax there are manufacturers who have their own test track facilities but i must make a mention that all manufacturers do not have their own test tracks point number one point number two even if they have they don’t have the magnitude and the variety and uh the quality with which the construction has been made you know there’s a see difference between possibly what they have and what we have out here and that is why you know we proudly say although everybody would like to have the proving ground of this magnitude variety but they cannot afford to have so that is why you know government thought that they must create a facility in the country so that you know the industry can make use of it and so that you know they are able to produce safe comfortable and let’s say durable vehicles in future well i must uh highlight the contribution of the government you know like uh this project was conceived under the automotive mission plan launched by government of india and then this is part of the nat trip project to create state-of-the-art r d and testing infrastructure in the country in support of the growing indian automotive industry so uh keeping that in mind obviously uh of course we had also involved a global consultant you know so that time the target was to make uh the best proving ground uh in the world so you know that was the target and that is why you know we are now proud to say that this is the asia’s longest high-speed track and of course spread over three thousand acres of land given by government pradesh for which we are very grateful to them and uh this has become the asia’s largest proving ground and i must also say uh with all this infrastructure uh we have the potential to be rated as uh in the top three in the world in fact if you see the uh automotive mission plan launched by this government in 2016 that india to attain the top three sports in the world and uh so in that connection i would say that you know as far as this proving ground is concerned this has got a very potential to be rated as in the top three in the world now the all-important question is netcracks open to all [Music] basically this center has been developed by keeping the view in the mind that the entire testing has to be done by the oem oems its original equipment manufacturers so that all players who are developing their vehicle at the initial phase they will get a they now they not required to go to abroad or uh at a very different different places so this center will provide them as a one point solution and now um thinking about the private players or the sports car car club that can be thought of but the main aim will be to serve the indian automobile industry and if there could be ideal period or the facility is getting not fully utilized then management is positively thinking to give some scope for this supercar club but definitely it will be under different safety protocols and different speed limit which will give the feel to this owner or the practitioners super car clubs but under uh entire uh usa supercar with the super surveillance so that can be entered in the future management is positive [Music] and we’ve often seen a lot of these camouflage test mules flying the roads of india of course most of these cars are intended for the indian market but there are a few vehicles that come to india as a part of their global testing procedure because of the additional challenges like the indian roads the wearing weather the dusty conditions etc similarly some vehicles that are produced in india have to go elsewhere for maybe quicker and cleaner roads better facilities etc but now with the natrax which is a part of the nat trip and the automotive mission plan launched by the government of india vehicle manufacturers may not have to go elsewhere for better facilities for world-class facilities to do their testing and getting their validations and certifications now that is certainly a matter of pride for all indians out there but at the same time it also shows how india is levelling up to the global scale and this means nothing but great news for auto enthusiasts like you and i [Music]
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NATRAX - the crown jewel of Indian automotive testing facilities | OVERDRIVE

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