Arctic ice and snow provides toughest test conditions in Arjeplog.
Snow, ice, minus 35 °C - truck brakes have to function reliably even under extreme conditions. Knorr-Bremse commercial vehicles are put through their paces on a challenging winter test site in Arjeplog, Sweden. The company extensively tests braking and driver assistance technologies here to ensure that vehicles can be trusted to brake correctly in real-life situations.
See the vehicles in action in our video below, with breathtaking footage of the Scandinavian landscape!
Arjeplog – a small town in northern Sweden, offers the perfect testing ground
Fewer than 3,000 residents are spread over an area of 15,000 square kilometers; the only tourist attractions are moose, reindeer and bears. In Arjeplog, a small town in the north of Sweden just south of the Arctic Circle, extreme sub-zero temperatures bring plenty of snow and ice during the winter months. Those venturing outside need to wrap up extra warm. But this harsh climate is ideal for testing the resilience of the latest innovations - far away from public roads.
Top address for European automobile testing
In the 1970s, a first reconnaissance team came to this remote, "deep frozen" location. One of the pioneering companies to set up in Arjeplog, following the example of Bosch and Daimler, was the German brake specialist Knorr-Bremse. Since then, the snow-covered Silvervägen, Arjeplog's main traffic artery, has become a center for European automobile testing. A whole industry and the related infrastructure for a whole range of product tests sprang up around the town. The strictly protected test tracks have thus become a top address for European automobile and commercial vehicle manufacturers.
Knorr-Bremse's sophisticated test laboratory in Arjeplog, Lapland
Knorr-Bremse has also set up its own test laboratory in Arjeplog with an integrated commercial vehicle workshop, offices with high-speed Internet access and its own test track. Every winter, the company works here under high pressure for three to four months to test and fine-tune major elements of the braking systems for trucks and trailers. Only then do they go into series production - from ABS to more complex technologies such as EBS and ESP/RSP.
Demanding test scenarios for brake systems in trucks
The μ-split ABS test track on land is 900 meters long and consists partly of heated, ice-free asphalt and partly polished ice and snow. These radically different surfaces pose a challenge to drivers and vehicles. The test truck must come to a standstill with one side on the ice and the other on the asphalt - with the greatest possible friction difference for the brake systems that keep the vehicle stable. The same scenario, called μ-Split, plays out on the Automatic Traction Control (ATC) test track. In addition, the truck under test has to handle a gradient of 10 to 15 percent. In this way, the most difficult ascent can be simulated in a low-risk environment.
A frozen lake becomes a test track for electronic assistance systems
On the frozen lake, Knorr-Bremse has access to a large ring track with a diameter of 500 meters. Up to three trucks drive simultaneously in circles, pushing their speed faster and faster. They test up to their load limits how well the various electronic assistance systems such as EBS, ASR, ESP and RSP interact. These automatically reduce the truck's speed in dangerous situations to prevent it from swerving, skidding and overturning. Thousands of calculations per second are carried out in advance, taking into account a whole host of different factors. The experience gained is invaluable for the safety of commercial vehicles. The foundation stone for autonomous trucks was also laid in the loneliness of Lapland - many years before they will be on the roads.