|Hankook Tire & Technology's Hankook Technoring tire test track in Taean, South Chungcheong Province. Courtesy of Hankook Tire & Technology|
By Baek Byung-yeul
TAEAN ― Hankook Tire & Technology opened a tire test track in the western coastal city of Taean, South Chungcheong Province, Wednesday, with an aim to develop innovative tire products to compete against global rivals.
Built on 1.26 million square meters of land, the company said the test center called Hankook Technoring is Asia's largest tire test facility.
The test center is about the size of 125 football fields combined and has a total of 13 tracks.
High-speed driving tests are available for cars running at speeds over 250 kilometer per hour, and performance tests for tires needed to develop innovative products, such as those for electric vehicles (EVs) and high-performance cars, are possible at the facility, the company said, adding that a total of 50 cars can be driven at the same time.
Hankook Technoring is also a state-of-the-art high-tech facility that can evaluate tire performance for all types of vehicles, including trucks and buses, and has control towers, office buildings, tire workshops and an EV charging station.
|Cho Hyun-bum, chairman of Hankook & Company, speaks during a ceremony commemorating the completion of Hankook Tire & Technology's Hankook Technoring tire test center in Taean, South Chungcheong Province, Wednesday. Courtesy of Hankook Tire & Technology|
"Innovative R&D investments such as Hankook Technodome and eight production bases around the world have been the driving forces that have grown us into the world's sixth largest tire company," Cho Hyun-bum, chairman of Hankook & Company, a holding company of Hankook Tire & Technology, said during a ceremony commemorating the completion of the test center.
"Recently, innovative changes in the automobile industry such as autonomous driving and EV are taking place rapidly. We are also keenly aware of the fact that we could be eliminated unless we try to innovate. To proactively respond to the changes, we now launched Asia's largest Hankook Technoring today," the chairman added.
Based on test data it unearths at Technoring, Hankook Tire & Technology will set up a big data analyzing platform and develop what it calls virtual optimization technology using artificial intelligence (AI) technology. To that end, the 37.1-meter-high control tower in the facility will use an integrated monitoring system, and major test data such as the road surface and climate accumulation.
"The tire is the only component and systematic testing of tires is an essential factor for a tire maker. Based on quality tests, the company will create synergy with future businesses and use them as new growth engines," Cho said.
With the opening of Hankook Technoring, the company said it is now ready to create synergy with its other infrastructure such as Hankook Technoplex, which serves as a control tower for the global market; Hankook Technodome, a R&D center for mid- to long-term strategy and innovative products; and eight production facilities located throughout the world.
Lee Soo-il, president of the tire giant, said Hankook Technoring will also play a pivotal role to strengthen cooperation with Hyundai Motor Group as the domestic carmaker will operate a driving school at the test track.
"Here at Hankook Technoring, Hyundai Motor Group will operate a driving school. As Hyundai Motor Group has recognized our capability to develop advanced tires and we will strengthen cooperation with Hyundai Motor," the president said.