Iracemápolis, a municipality in the state of São Paulo, Brazil is well known for two things. It is the birthplace of the now-retired footballer Elano, and the home of the Mercedes-Benz do Brasil Ltd a car production plant. Now, it is also home to the largest and most impressive proving ground in the southern hemisphere.
The state-of-the-art proving ground has 12 km of track and covers the equivalent of 150 football pitches
Located next to the plant, the US$25 m proving ground was inaugurated in May 2018. With cutting edge technology and covering a stunning 1,300,000 m2 (the equivalent of 150 football pitches), it is the most advanced proving ground in Brazil. Able to simulate the roads of Brazil and indeed any other country in the world, the proving ground is mainly used by Mercedes-Benz to test its trucks, buses, and other commercial vehicles. However, 20% of the track’s current usage is by other automotive manufacturers who take advantage of the first-class amenities on offer.
Made to meet all standards
A specialized facility housing advanced digital technology and connectivity is located alongside 12 km of track, divided into 16 individual tracks (asphalt, concrete, and off road), accommodating all of Mercedes-Benz needs – from durability testing to acoustic and thermal comfort testing and off-road testing for extra-heavy vehicles. Using special techniques and materials, the tracks have a lifetime of 30 years, ensuring high accuracy and repeatability.
One of the focus areas of Mercedes-Benz in Brazil is the need to reduce the overall noise of their production vehicles, mostly trucks. The transition to meeting ISO 5130: 2019 Acoustics – Measurements of sound pressure level emitted by stationary road vehicles happens in three phases, but the end result is that they must reduce overall noise by 2 dB by 2023. A 2 dB reduction in overall noise may not sound like much, but even for a decently sized commercial vehicle like a semi-truck, this is a huge deal. Finding areas where noise can be reduced requires mammoth effort from the team, a variety of different tools and analysis techniques such as noise source identifi cation (NSI), pass-by testing, and source path contribution (SPC).