DaimlerChrysler will invest around EUR100m over five years to build a new driving simulator and wind tunnel in Sindelfingen.

The move is a first step in the expansion of the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre (MTC) in Sindelfingen.

The development will take place on an area of land known as the "Mittelpfad South" area directly adjacent to the MTC and the Sindelfingen plant. The preparatory measures for providing the new construction site with an energy supply will be started this year. Subject to planning approval, building work will begin in the spring of 2007. The expansion, which will be carried out in several phases, will be completed in the next decade.

In a statement DaimlerChrysler said the planned new climate tunnels will lead to faster, more precise and more extensive measurement results. In the future, it will be possible to test vehicles on these test rigs regardless of the weather conditions. In addition, fewer test drives on public roads will be needed.

Through the second large test rig, the driving simulator, the company is planning to integrate vehicle-related research into the development process even more intensely and efficiently. Among the key factors behind the decision to build a new, ultramodern driving simulator were customers' increasing demands regarding movement dynamics and the need to reproduce complex inner-city scenarios in a lifelike fashion.

At the Mercedes Technology Centre, which was opened in 2000, developers, designers and engineers work on the product and technology portfolio of the Mercedes-Benz, Smart and Maybach brands as well as for DaimlerChrysler.

After the expansion of the Mercedes-Benz Technology Centre on the Mittelpfad South site is completed and the centralisation of previously scattered vehicle-related research functions has been carried out, positions for highly qualified employees will be clustered at the Sindelfingen facility in the coming years.

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