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Hi, my name is Gunnar Winkler. I am a development engineer at Continental in VED System Vehicle Integration. Beside my work place in Frankfurt, Germany, a few weeks a year I work at a second interesting work place in Arvidsjaur in North Sweden. Every year from December to March Continental runs an own test center there, situated approximately 100 kilometers South from the Arctic circle.
There I test new Brake-by-Wire systems and develop them until the start of production. In parallel those and other systems are presented to our customers on specially prepared test tracks. Today I’ll take you with me on a typical working day here in cold and snow-covered Arvidsjaur.
Today a customer visit is on the agenda: An automobile manufacturer wants to be introduced to our latest developments. The customer arrives in our test center in the morning. While my colleagues present the different vehicles and their systems in the conference building, I am preparing my test vehicle and am quickly testing the flawless function of the prototype. I’m going to present a new By-Wire brake system today. Each of the vehicles is taken care of by a co-pilot, that is very well versed in the presented systems and usually was already involved in the development process.
The test drives begin. The customer takes the driver’s seat. I shortly explain the new feature and suggest driving maneuvers that will make its advantages very well experienceable. Let’s go! The snow-covered test tracks are aglow with the light of the Swedish winter sun. There are diverse test tracks with snow-covered and ice-covered surfaces – some of them on a frozen lake, others on land. They are prepared several times a day for the test drives to achieve optimal road conditions.
After all customers have had the chance to test the systems in the vehicle under winter conditions, a detailed feedback round with the customer follows in the afternoon. Afterwards my colleagues and I have left some time to further develop future brake systems, to apply brake regulation functions to current projects or align project specific topics with customers and colleagues worldwide.
The diverse mix of organizational tasks, business trips, theory and the direct practical orientation in the vehicle makes my job extremely interesting and varied.