Tires

New Pirelli tire development simulator slashes lead times by 30 percent

Pirelli's simulator has helped with the company's sustainability efforts.

Photo courtesy of Pirelli

A new tire simulator will help Pirelli reduce the development time of its products by 30 percent. This is because it greatly reduces the number of physical prototypes that the company needs to produce during the development process.

The simulator lives in Milan, Italy at Pirelli's research and development division. According to the company, the simulator makes it possible for different development parameters to be remodeled rapidly, which leads to a faster exchange of information between Pirelli and the world's car manufacturers.

Pirelli simulator Behind the simulator sits a control room where researchers and engineers can employ a number factors to test the tires.Photo courtesy of Pirelli

When compared to traditional research and development techniques, the ability to virtually model any car in the system and apply a variety of environmental and roadway factors, and equipment to the model.

Pirelli also says that this innovation plays into the company's commitment to sustainability. Less prototypes equal less waste.

This type of advanced product simulation has been used for more than a decade during the design and development of Formula 1 and other motorsport tires. Automakers, including Honda, use simulators for other functions, including testing innovations in safety technology.

Pirelli describes the simulator as being "produced by VI-grade and consists of a 210-degree panoramic screen, 24.6 feet in diameter, which visually reproduces a wide range of different driving conditions, roads and circuits. At the heart of the system is a static car equipped with various active technologies to accurately reproduce the sensations that any driver would feel in a real car, including the seat, steering wheel, seat belts and different shaker systems, which precisely replicate the movements of the suspension and engine."

Behind protective glass in the control room are personnel that can program the simulator to reproduce a variety of different technical specifications for the tire or the car. The results of each test is then logged, measuif the interaction between the tire and the "road" as well as other parameters relevant to tire behavior.

The simulator is also able to add in subjective impressions that may be felt by a driver, encompassing nearly all the impactful applications of a tire.

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Automotive toys

McLaren and LEGO team up on two new models

The automaker released two LEGO models for the holiday season.

McLaren

McLaren cars are among the quickest and most sought after vehicles on the planet, but not everyone can swallow their six-figure price tags. There's good news, though. Those of us who aren't able to get in the driver's seat can pick up the new LEGO kits and build our own mini-McLarens at home. The automaker partnered with the toy brand to offer two models for the holidays.

McLaren The open-top McLaren Elva in LEGO form.McLaren

McLaren is also offering auto-themed luggage from Tumi and a special line of clothing, but that's not why where here. We're most interested in the LEGO versions of the McLaren Elva and McLaren Senna GTR. However, with hundreds of pieces each, these aren't the simplest of toys. The Senna GTR LEGO replica comes in 830 pieces and features a V8 engine with moving pistons, opening dihedral doors, and a deep blue livery.

The McLaren Elva is *only* 263 pieces and replicates the cleverly designed, super-aerodynamic open-top car. McLaren says that the real car uses aero to shelter its occupants from wind. There is no windshield and no windows on the car, both of which are details that look great in the blocky LEGO format.

McLaren McLaren also worked with Tumi to develop car-themed luggage.McLaren

If you're itching to hand-assemble either McLaren LEGO model at home, the Senna costs $49.99 and the Elva costs $19.99.

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The entire VW lineup sees new features and tech.

Volkswagen

The 2022 Volkswagen lineup will be tech-forward and will have more standard features than before. That's the message the automaker sent with its most recent announcement, which gives us a solid look at the company's 2022 catalog and the standard features that will be distributed across it.

Most new VW models feature the brand's Digital Cockpit system, which is a digital gauge cluster that can display maps, audio and entertainment features, and more. The Atlas, Atlas Cross Sport, Golf GTI, and Golf R all come with the feature.


2022 Golf R VW's Digital Cockpit is not standard on several models.Volkswagen


VW's IQ.DRIVE system is also widely standard in the automaker's catalog. The technology includes a hands-on semi-automated driving function with lane centering and capacitive feedback on the steering wheel. Volkswagen says that in town, the system can help alert drivers to upcoming obstacles or to sudden changes in traffic activity ahead. IQ.DRIVE uses front and rear radar, a front camera, and several ultrasound sensors.

Several advanced driver assist features are also included in the IQ.DRIVE system. They include forward collision warnings, automatic emergency braking with pedestrian monitoring, active blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alerts, adaptive cruise control with stop and go, lane keep assist, and a semi-automated vehicle assistance system.


2022 Volkswagen Tiguan The Tiguan gets updated styling for the new model year.Volkswagen


Beyond tech updates for the new model year, Volkswagen has made changes to several other models' styling and powertrains. The Jetta, Jetta GLI, and Tiguan received fresh styling for the new model year, while the Arteon sedan now comes with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 300 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. It's paired with a seven-speed dual-clutch gearbox.


2022 Volkswagen Taos The Taos is brand-new for 2022.Volkswagen


Finally, a new vehicle hits the VW lineup for 2022. The Taos is a compact SUV with styling similar to that of the Atlas SUV. It also gets the Digital Cockpit system as standard kit, as well as a turbocharged 1.5-liter engine and optional all-wheel drive. The Taos starts at around $23,000 before destination.

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