Together on the course for the future
55 kilometers of a track network, 29 hectares of asphalt surfaces and various test modules and areas: The Immendingen Test and Technology Center offers unique opportunities to intensively test vehicles from our product range. External partners are supporting the setup - and are also in demand after the run-up in autumn 2018.
Where construction vehicles still shape the picture today, the future of mobility will start at the end of 2018. 300 involvements will then develop, test and bring to market vehicles at the Immendingen location –130 km south of Stuttgart. The focus is on the CASE future fields of networking (Connected), automated driving (Automated), flexible use (Shared & Services) and electrical drives (Electric).
Daimler AG has invested EUR 200 million in the test site in order to advance these technologies. In the future, test drives on public roads and external test tracks can be relocated to the company’s own premises. All technical possibilities are centrally available in one place here. Unique in the automotive industry worldwide.
A major project fully on schedule
The services that were provided during the construction of the Immendingen Test and Technology Center are also impressive. A state-of-the-art research and development site was built on the former garrison grounds within four years. It is a success that was shaped by the specialist department of “Planning for Development” and by Purchasing. The project was supported by select suppliers.
After the construction permit was obtained in 2014, the purchasing team started the tenders. 30 packages in all sizes were commissioned – from window manufacturers to sophisticated filling station technology to road construction and civil engineering. Around 3.4 million cubic meters of earth were moved on the construction site! It’s obvious that, in addition to marketable prices, the performance of suppliers also played a role. That is why the bidders and consortia concluded some major contracts.
Assisted by the city and municipality, the procurement department also followed the Daimler localization strategy: If the costs, expertise and capacities were right, suppliers from the Immendingen area were awarded the contract.
Success story with external partners
The official start of construction was the ground breaking ceremony in February 2015. with the aim of gradually putting individual test modules into operation by the opening at the end of 2018. To do this, the purchasing team had to plan precisely and coordinate the work on the 520 hectare site perfectly. Together with the suppliers, it was also important to master special technical requirements, such as soil preparation. And they succeeded!
Tests have already been running on the rough road dirt route since 2016. Additional modules started in October 2017. The 4 x 4 module for all-wheel drive and off-road vehicles, the city quarter for assistance system tests, car-to-X and autonomous driving functions, as well as the Alb long-endurance course with curves, inclines and descents. Autonomous driving is being tested on the Bertha area. The advantage: All test drives are not in road traffic, but rather under standardized real conditions.
Technological progress – in harmony with nature
The oval circuit allows for the simulation of endless straight-ahead driving due to the lateral force-free curves. The purchasing team’s foresight and one-year advance reservation were necessary when constructing the elevated curves. For there is only one supplier in the world with the required special equipment. The technology center connected to the test tracks provides space for offices, development facilities and test facilities: such as a parking garage for testing autonomous parking.
The nature conservation compensation measures were just as important to Daimler as the construction progress. Numerous suppliers were commissioned to create new habitats for plants and animals at the Immendingen site and to reforest and green areas. In addition, a tunneled wildlife passage was created across the site.
Start Your Engines!
The expertise of external partners is also in demand after the ramp-up at the end of 2018. The purchasing department is expanding its supplier portfolio to cover all requirements of the state-of-the-art research and development company. In addition to proven partners for development services, new specialists from all over the world are also wanted. Namely directly on the spot in Immendingen.
Gradually, the specialist departments from research and development will approach procurement. Suppliers who apply in due time have good opportunities right from the start. And those who impress with an outstanding performance have the best opportunities to position themselves well in the long term.