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Visiting Maserati’s Innovation Lab

From driving simulators to racing trimarans, the Italian company is dedicated to experimentation and improvement

Maserati‘s familiar trident logo is attributed to the Italian carmaker’s roots  in Bologna, where the bronze and marble Fontana del Nettuno (Fountain of Neptune) stands in Piazza del Nettuno. Now the brand’s factory and HQ are in nearby Modena, which is some 120+ kilometers from the coast. Nevertheless, innovation at Maserati takes to the seas, just as it does the land.

Since 2012, Maserati has collaborated with navigator Giovanni Soldini in a partnership that led to 2016’s Maserati Multi 70, a trimaran that has won regattas all over the world. “For us, this is a laboratory ship,” says Soldini, who recently made several improvements to the hull with Maserati engineers. However, the boat was reproduced virtually by aerodynamics experts at the Innovation Lab back in Modena. For the digital model of the Multi 70, different winds were reproduced, thus identifying possible areas for improvement through CFD simulations (Computational Fluid Dynamics).

Later, the hull was modified to improve aerodynamic and hydrodynamic characteristics that will increase performance during flight phase—one of this kind of vessel’s most exciting abilities. Various other alterations have improved the trimaran’s aerodynamics too, and it can now reach a cruising speed of over 43 knots. This impressive speed has led the brand to aspire to break the English Channel Record in 2020.

As expected, the Innovation Lab is also improving their made-in-Modena supercars and it’s here where Maseratis are tested—with every minuscule detail of the driving experience in focus. One such innovation is the latest generation DiM (Driver-in-Motion) Simulator, with which it’s possible to change any parameter of the car configuration in a few seconds, reproducing and testing dozens of possibilities per day. In order to make this possible, data generated by real engines is recorded and transmitted to the simulator, then digitally tested on models still under construction—even before the prototypes of the cars are finalized.

Another fascinating section of the Innovation Lab is dedicated to a Static Simulator, in which drivers can use a real car model to test driving conditions on roads and terrains around the world, as well as the reactions to different speeds and ADAS (Advanced Driver Assistants Systems).

Maserati always makes the driving experience its priority, and for this reason they’ve created the sophisticated User Experience Lab. In these rooms, cars are tested by professional and non-professional drivers. Every aspect is put under scrutiny, from ergonomics and comfort to interior and exterior lights. The laboratory is equipped with 3D scanners that record each minute of every driver’s movements, and virtual reality tools that allow skilled technicians to simulate any kind of situation. The information gleaned from such detailed research results in constant evolution. Altogether, the Innovation Lab and its many sectors bolster the capabilities of anything wearing the trident.

Images courtesy of Maserati


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