Bosch was one of the first companies to test its technologies in Arjeplog, Sweden and this winter marks the 40th anniversary of its activities there. For the past decade, the company has been using a comprehensive test facility on the Vaitoudden peninsula. Establishing the facility required an investment of €20m. “Northern Sweden is the perfect place to fine-tune safety systems such as ABS and ESP, on snow and ice,” commented Gerhard Steiger, president of the chassis systems control division.
Bosch conducted its first minor test drives in northern Sweden as early as 1971. In 1973, the company heard of an airstrip on a frozen lake in Arjeplog. It was the first to use the runway to develop its ABS anti-lock braking system there. Since then, Bosch has returned to Arjeplog each year. The region, which is located 60km South of the Arctic Circle, has become a veritable mecca for European automotive testers.
In 2003 Bosch built a new, much larger testing facility located at a lake outside of town. Says Andrew Allen, the British head of the Swedish Bosch subsidiary, “The location offers all of the conditions that can cause drivers headaches throughout the winter.” Split-mu driving surfacese, various hills with a range of inclines, and a number of other test courses are elements on the landside. The center also features a frozen lake with several track sections. Here, test drivers can test modern braking control systems under the most extreme conditions on ice that is at least 30cm thick.