The National Automotive Test Tracks (NATRAX) based out of Indore, Madhya Pradesh, has been doing its bit in offering its test tracks for the various automotive industry requirements. The NATRAX runs under the auspices of the National Automotive Testing and R&D Infrastructure Project (NATRiP), a joint initiative of the government and the automotive industry.
The NATRAX is home to Asia’s largest automotive proving ground that has been set up at Pithampur, near Indore in Madhya Pradesh over 2,960 acres of land. NATRAX’s proving ground comprises 14 different types of test tracks with different types of surface types to test vehicles against varying terrains and stringency viz., high speed track, dynamic platform, multi-friction braking track, fatigue track, gradient track, gravel & off-road track, handling track, comfort track, handling track for two & three-wheelers, sustainability track, wet skid pad, noise track, general road along with dust tunnel, water wading trough, salted water wading trough, shower test rig, etc. for comprehensive testing and evaluation, research & development and certification of vehicles. These test tracks are open air laboratories with stringent specifications and quality control that meet international standards.
NATRAX also comprises state-of-the-art Vehicle Dynamics Lab and Power Train Lab complimented by CAE Lab, Instrumentation Lab, Client Workshops and General Storage building as support facilities. The Vehicle Dynamics Lab houses one-of-its-kind facility in the country i.e. Kinematics and Compliance (K&C) Test Rig for measurement of suspension parameters and Damper Test Rig, Elastomer Test Rig & Steering Test Rig for measurement of performance of components, which can be used for mathematical modeling & prediction of performance, using CAE tools and improves ride & handling characteristics in automobiles. The Power Train Lab consists of a Chassis Dynamometer coupled with an emission measurement system capable of benchmarking and testing compliance to emission norms of India, US, CARB, EPA, EURO and Japan.
NATRAX offers world-class testing and evaluation services catering to all vehicle categories from two-wheelers/three-wheelers to heavy commercial vehicles as per national and international standards. NATRAX’s test tracks meant primarily for R&D tests for the automotive and the component sector can also be used for homologation tests. NATRAX is also a Centre of Excellence for Vehicle Dynamics catering to the design and development activities of OEMs and tyre manufacturers in the country and abroad, with the capability to undertake testing and R&D projects for optimisation of ride and handling, chassis and suspension tuning, full vehicle characterisation, modelling and simulation, etc. The facility is a boon to the tyre industry for benchmarking of tyre performance and has also come in the right time as the ‘Tyre Labeling’ concept has come into force with the introduction of new tyre standards for tyres viz., rolling resistance, wet grip and rolling noise emission parameters.
NATRAX have been utilised by OEMs and tyre manufacturers for commercial use. The four-lane high speed oval track of 11.3 km length with neutral speed capability of 250 kmph is under construction and shall be ready by 2019-end.