If you've been paying attention to the world of car development over the last several years, you know the simulator is playing an ever-increasing role. At Buick, part of that role is cloning some of the world's toughest roads and driving them virtually to help tune the car.

As interesting as that is, it's the way they map the roads that's really cool. Using a scanner developed by a team of engineers led by Mine Tasci (pronounced Mee-NAY), the surface of the road is modeled in 3D by cameras and lasers down to one millimeter of accuracy. The result is a near-perfect replication of the real-world road in digital form.

Examples of the roads mapped and used to abuse (and tune) Buick's cars? The road leading to Mexico's Cerro del Cubilete shrine. "Customers who drive on that road complain about steering rack noise," said Tasci. "That's why we wanted to recreate this road so that we can test and ensure that our vehicles are up to the challenge of driving on roads like this one."

For more driving simulator awesomeness, check out Mercedes-Benz's new flight-trainer-like setup.