G.M.C.C. Asselbergs (Jos) was a man who not only thought outside the box, but spent considerable time thinking about the box. Jos was an Automotive as well as a Professional Engineer. A very creative man, he was an inventor as well.
Jos Asselbergs was an avid supporter of Citroën cars. Practically the entire fleet of the Dutch Auto Club service vehicles were 2CV’s, which were purchased on his advice.
Jos Asselbergs also consulted for Citroën, and some interesting innovations were the direct result in model changes at Citroën. His employment with the Dutch ANWB as head of Technical Services as well as the WegenWacht (The Dutch Auto Club) gave him the leeway to put his some of his ideas into reality.
Holland doesn’t have the severe winter weather like we do in Canada, but one condition is common, namely, icy road conditions. In the early 60’s, Jos Asselbergs decided there were too many accidents caused not just by icy road conditions, but by drivers who had no clue as to how to regain control of their vehicles.
The challenge was daunting. How does one get the right conditions to train people?
He figured out that instead of changing the environment, perhaps he should change the car.
A very novel approach! If he could change the car, one wouldn’t need to wait for winter, or the few times when the weather allowed the right conditions. One could learn how to regain control on a nice dry summer day!
In 1965 he unveiled the “Slip Simulator”.
The Slip Simulator was introduced on television and made all the newspapers in Holland. There was a lot of interest created amongst driving schools and the Armed Forces.
So how did this Slip Simulator work?
The idea was so simple, it’s a wonder no one else had thought of it.
By adding independent steering to the rear wheels. An instructor could control the rear steering, and a student at the wheel could be taught how to react under these heart-stopping circumstances. The rear wheels suddenly steering without warning to the driver was a very convincing imitation of a skid. Having sat in the Slip Simulator as a child while a driver and Jos Asselbergs steering the rear wheels was quite the experience. It really was sliding ‘out of control’ !
The wonderful side effect was the car was never really out of control. A safe way to learn indeed!
Whatever happened to this great idea?
The filing of patents, and having the Dutch Department of Transport (RDW) permit this invention was a time-consuming affair. Jos Asselbergs died in March, 1968, without his wonderful invention ever becoming a practical tool in teaching people how to prevent accidents during slippery road conditions.
The reason I put this exclusive on this site is two-fold. The first reason is because his Slip Simulator vehicle was a 2CV. The second reason is, well, Jos Asselbergs was my father.
There were two 2CV’s converted, one pictured below, and another, a 2CV truckette (AZAM) not pictured here.
The Ottawa Citizen newspaper published an article about this simulator
This article and photographs may be used with permission.