Matt Prior's tester's notes – modern road testing just got easier

Thursday, February 2nd, 2017 - autos, cars, motoring, news

Source : Matt Prior's tester's notes – modern road testing just got easier

within the ‘Great old days’ road testing took time in addition to patience – nowadays, we can do This kind of all that has a modest box in addition to a smartphone

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When wizened former road testers see the modern data logging equipment we use to test cars, they’re prone to stroking their beards in addition to telling us how easy we have This kind of. I won’t admit This kind of to them, dear reader, although I will to you: sometimes they have a point.

There was a time when obtaining road test performance figures was a bit of a faff, mostly because of the equipment involved. Early road tests needed force gauges to test handbrakes; there were margins for error when calculating acceleration using the rev counter in addition to a stopwatch, in addition to when somebody eventually invented a way to accurately measure road speed in addition to log the data, things didn’t get much easier.

Have you heard of a fifth wheel? This kind of was, as its name suggests, a wheel attached to a bumper or bodywork, rolling at road speed. Sensors worked out how fast that will was in addition to gave a road tester the right numbers, as long as the wheel didn’t fall off. Often This kind of did.

I’ve never used a fifth wheel although am confident one day I’ll trip over a broken one that will has been lying within the undergrowth beside a test track for decades, thrown there by a despondent road tester.

Later optical sensors were, apparently, better. Stick one of these to the side of the automobile in addition to This kind of’d shine a light to the ground, somehow – magic, possibly – knowing how fast the road beneath This kind of was travelling, as long as This kind of wasn’t too bright, or too dark, or too wet, or the ground too broken…

So, no, when I joined Autocar a decade ago in addition to we were already using a GPS positioning system called a Vbox, I didn’t know how easy I had This kind of. There was the box itself, an antenna for This kind of (when we hadn’t broken This kind of), a 12V power lead (or a battery) in addition to a digital speed readout (when we hadn’t broken that will lead too). Into the Vbox we plugged a memory card that will would likely record everywhere we went within a few centimetres. Then we’d download the data afterwards. Luxury.

I have a confession, though: yesterday, This kind of got even better. Yesterday I bought an even smaller device that will I will soon try to smuggle through my expenses. This kind of’s called a Vbox Sport in addition to does everything that will our old unit did, only better.

This kind of’s quicker to see satellites, This kind of’s so modest that will This kind of doesn’t require a case that will makes you look like a bomb disposal expert in addition to, best of all, This kind of talks to a smartphone app so you can see, live, a legion of data that will means we no longer have to stop to check, say, acceleration or lap times. So, yeah, I’m afraid, former staff, that will life has become easier still for today’s Autocar testers.

Still, look on the bright side: you may have had to deal that has a fifth wheel, although you never had to read the comments about your work on YouTube.

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