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NATRAX, Indore: A phenomenal Test Tracks facility

Spread across a 4,140 acre site near Indore, Madhya Pradesh, the National Automotive Test Track Facility is one of the largest centres for automotive development in the country. It consists of 14 test tracks and 2 laboratories that test passenger vehicles, commercial vehicles, two-wheelers and three-wheelers.

The test tracks include the following:

  1. High speed circuit - A 13.28 km long track which has a maximum testing speed of 350 km/h. It is an oval-shaped circuit with two 3.5 km straights and a curve radius of 1 km. High speed tests can be conducted here.
  2. Dynamic platform - Two acceleration lanes of 1 km in length and a dynamic area of 150 m radius. It can be used for testing vehicle dynamics and tyre development and approval.
  3. Straight line braking - Four different braking surfaces have been provided along with provisions for acceleration, stabilization and aquaplaning tests. It can be used for homologation and R&D of tyres and ABS and testing in low grip conditions.
  4. Wet pad - A circular pad with two different surfaces for development of ESP and traction control systems.
  5. Test slopes - Slopes with different gradients up to 30% are available for testing and durability programs. Traction control systems can also be tested here.
  6. External noise test track - Acceleration and deceleration lanes suitable for heavy duty vehicles to measure external noise.
  7. Accelerated fatigue track - Two 1.25 km long parallel lanes with different surfaces are used to accelerate the ageing of vehicles' structures and components.
  8. Water wade / Salt water wade / Car shower - These are part of fatigue testing. A rain simulator simulates different levels of rain in static conditions and includes a water recovery system.
  9. Gravel road - A 3 km long gravel surface to test internal noise, comfort and endurance.
  10. Off-road track - A 3 km track with pyramids, water crossings, sand and mud roads and speed areas with slope changes to test suspension.
  11. Dry handling circuit - A 4 km long high-speed circuit to develop and test vehicle chassis and tyres.
  12. Dust tunnel / Sustainability track / Speed bumper track - Used to test cars in a dusty environment and the impact of speed breakers on the vehicles. The sustainability track has a constant longitudinal gradient of 8% and is meant for commercial vehicles. Comfort levels can also be tested here.
  13. 2/3 wheeler handling track - A 1 km curvy track with tight turns. It is only 5 m wide.
  14. Comfort track - Lanes with different surfaces like badly maintained roads to test vibration and comfort.

The laboratories available at the facility include:

  1. Powertrain lab - Consists of a dyno and an emission measurement system. The lab can be used for homologation and R&D.
  2. Vehicle Dynamics lab - This offers testing in real world conditions in the lab. The facility is split into four parts - kinematics and compliance test machine, elastomer characterization test rig, damper characterization test rig and steering test rig.

Image Source: Autocar Professional

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