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The test bed built for testing extreme tire technology

Flagship Proving Ground, Hankook ‘Technoring’

In May 2022, Hankook Tire opened Asia's largest test track, Hankook Technoring (hereafter Technoring), covering an area of 38.15 million pyeong (A combined area of 125 soccer fields). Based on Hankook Tire’s philosophy of technology, Technoring serves as the final test bed for rigorous testing of all tire technologies. This launched Hankook Tire's high-speed driving towards the pinnacle of technology.

‘Technoring : Technology + Ring’
Technoring is a combination of the words technology and ring. There are various test tracks, driving courses, research facilities, and an advanced technology space that incorporates Hankook Tire's philosophy of technology.

A new growth engine for future mobility innovation

Innovative changes such as EV, digital transformation, and autonomous driving have been taking place rapidly in the automobile industry in recent years. Throughout the changes, Hankook Tire has continued to provide and develop OE tires for not only leading global premium vehicle makers like Porsche Taycan, Mercedes-Benz S-Class, BMW 7 Series, and Audi SQ8 (SQ8), but also electric vehicle makers leading the upcoming electrification era like Tesla and Lucid.

The key to developing OE tires is to meet the performance requirements for the model according to the vehicle characteristics. Strict evaluations of the vehicle maker brands for OE tires has been made in the past, however, such requirements are continuously improving. One of the reasons for this is that product development and testing conditions have become more stringent as the SUV and EV markets have emerged. As a result, the actual vehicle test volume has also increased.

Technoring is a largescale driving test bed to preemptively respond to a global need that will lead innovation in the automobile market. Here in this test bed, a tire performance test is available for all types of vehicles including passenger cars, racing cars, trucks and buses, and tire performance tests that are necessary for the development of innovative products like tires for electric vehicles and supercars.

On any road environment on the planet

The gateway to maximizing driving sensibility

Hankook Tire is based not only in Korea where its headquarters is located, but also around the world. The headquarters ‘Technoplex’ plans mid-to-long-term strategies and creates innovative products serving as a global control tower, while the central research center ‘Technodome’ develops tire source technology to serve as a hub for R&D centers around the world. In addition, it has R&D centers, technical centers, and driving test centers (dry/wet driving test site, winter driving test site) in various regions of the world including North America, China, Spain, Germany, and Finland.

Hankook Tire has been testing products and developing optimal tires for different road conditions, differing climates, and various driver inclinations in each country. High-tech products for all environments can only be created after passing rigorous tests on various roads and in extreme environments.

  • Hankook Tire's global driving test site operation status (as of August 2022)

Type G'trac Technoring
# of simultaneous test bench
(Max)
8 50 (+42)
Max speed 140km/h 250km/h (+110km)
# of test bench 9
(VAD / DRY Handling / WET Handling/ HYDRO Curve / Ride / Braking/ Hydro Straight / PBN / NVH)
13 (+4)
(Additional: HSO, General Road, Cut Chip Road, Off Road)
Total area of test bench About 80,000 pyeong
(269,635m²)
About 380,000 pyeong (1,261,157m²)
(375%↑)
Additional assessment
vs. G'trac
- - Evaluate high-speed lane change (Over 200km/h)
- Evaluate J-turn performance
- Evaluate dry + wet + high-speed main circuit comprehensive handling and more
  • Technoring is superior to the G’Trac test track also owned by Hankook Tire in terms of its scale, performance, and technology

Track and architecture combine to make Technoring

  • Technoring is largely divided into track and architecture.

The ‘Track’ simulates and tests all possible driving situations

Tires are a key factor affecting vehicle performance, safety, fuel economy, and comfort. So, testing in a variety of environments is extremely important. Hankook Tire conducts high-density tests, including durability and stability evaluations when driving at high speeds, dry and wet braking performance tests, handling on various road conditions, ride comfort, and noise tests at Technoring, where cutting-edge technologies are integrated.

  • There are a total of 13 tracks at Technoring. See details on the functions and purpose of each track in Part 2.

Technoring’s control ‘architecture’ serves to record and control
all research tasks processed in Technoring

The architecture accounts for only 1.14% of the vast Technoring space. Though it is but a very small area compared to the overall scale of Technoring, it serves as the brain of the facility where all activities related to product research take place.

“With a height of 37.1m,
the control tower ensures safe and efficient control over the vast track.”

The control tower and research building, the symbols of Technoring, also house the welcome center that manages access and provides security to Over-bridge, the entrance to Technoring. The control tower continuously monitors the tracks which allows a quick response to accidents as the tests are conducted on various types of track including the high-speed drive.

With 30 CCTVs installed on each test road to provide monitoring on vehicle location, behavior, sensor data, and driving conditions, data is processed in real time. Any blind spots of the CCTV can be viewed by people from the 360 degree viewing windows With a digital integrated management system that intuitively identifies the location and degree of an accident first, safety management is delivered while analyzing the cause and prevention of accidents at the same time through wide-area video control in areas where visual ability is limited.

  • Exterior and interior images of the control tower

The research building focused on major research on tires has office space, a Truck and Bus Replacement (TBR) Tire workshop, a Personal Car Replacement (PCR) Tire workshop, a tire preparation room, a tire support room, and a tire disposal site. Each space is optimized according to the focus raising the level of immersion in each area.

Background for the development of Technoring 1
Special methods applied to create a stable testing and research environment

Technoring is located in ‘Taean’, an area on the west coast of Korea where the Hankook Tire headquarters is located. Taean is an area with tidal flats with a climate similar to the mild Mediterraneanin Europe making it very advantageous for tire and vehicle evaluation. This was the deciding factor when Taean was chosen as the location for the test track.

However, there was one topographical problem in constructing Technoring on the land here. Taean is an area with a high proportion of reclaimed land. Reclaimed land is susceptible to earthquakes and the ground tends to be unstable, so establishing a test track on such terrain was a challenge.

As a solution, Hankook Tire applied a special construction method called PBD* when constructing Technoring. By using PBD, Hankook Tire has proactively prevented situations that may occur due to topographical changes, such as soil subsidence by firmly compacting the ground. The PBD method takes an average of 12 months to complete. Significant effort was made to build a stable driving test and research environment despite the process taking lots of time during the six-year construction project.

  • PBD(Plastic Board Drain)*Construction Method

  • PBD is a method to make soft ground hard by placing a plastic board into the ground and placing a thick layer of soil on it to press the surface with the weight of the soil.

The Hankook Technoring Construction Site

Background for the development of Technoring 2
Special driving experience with motorsport culture in mind

Hyundai Motor, a global automobile brand, is planning to move their ‘Driving Experience Center’ into Technoring. The operation of the ‘Driving Culture Program’ which any consumer can experience will allow the driving culture of the space to flourish.

Test, improve, and get ahead

Technoring continues to develop advanced digital technology using AI along with big data platform construction by continuously accumulating important vehicle data obtained from road surface conditions, climate, and extreme driving conditions. With the successful completion of Technoring, the company plans to lead the market in meeting the needs of increasingly diverse global premium vehicle makers and to enhance our competitiveness in the future of the automotive industry when it comes to electric vehicles and autonomous driving. The driving force that makes this possible lies in the tests conducted on the 13 tracks within Hankook Technoring. In the next part, read about the function and purpose of each track, and the advanced technology applied during track development for high-density testing.