Volvo Cars Safety Centre multifunction facility turns 20

Volvo Cars Safety Centre multifunction facility turns 20

Having opened in 2000, the Volvo Cars Safety Centre crash test laboratory turns 20 this year, and remains one of the most advanced crash test centres in the world today, says Volvo. The Safety Centre is a multi-function facility that enables the Swedish carmaker’s safety engineers to recreate an endless combination of traffic situations and incidents, and perform tests that go beyond regulatory requirements, it said.

“Being committed to safety is not about passing a test or getting a safety rating. Our commitment to safety is about finding out how and why accidents and injuries occur, and then developing the technology to help prevent them. We hope our pioneering work will inspire others to follow our ambition to reduce road traffic casualties worldwide,” said Volvo senior technical advisor for safety, Thomas Broberg.

Volvo’s crash test laboratory is home to two test tracks, measuring 108 m and 154 m long, respectively. The 108 m-long track is moveable and can be positioned at an angle of up to 90 degrees to enable testing of crashes at different speeds and angles, or to simulate a crash between two moving cars, says Volvo. Cars being tested here can be crashed at up to 120 km/h.

Outside the Safety Centre, tests for roll-over crashes and run-off road scenarios are performed, where cars are launched into a ditch at high speeds. The outdoor facility is also where Volvo demonstrated a 30-metre drop to simulate crash damage that is sustained in extreme situations, involving the latest cars built with high-strength metals.

There also approximately two dozen fixed and moveable barriers that can be used in crash testing, including one that somewhat resembles a moose to simulate crashes involving similarly sized animals. Before a physical crash test is conducted, the car model in question will have already undergone thousands of computer-simulated crash tests, says Volvo, and the collected data goes towards developing safer cars.

As with other vehicle safety assessment programmes, sensors are fitted to crash test dummies and barriers to collect all possible data for the entire chain of events, along with ultra-high-definition cameras which record the test events in as much detail as possible. The Safety Centre has recently been outfitted and prepared specifically for safely crash-testing electric cars as well.

“No matter what the scenario, we can recreate it here at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre and analyse it in detail. For me it is very inspiring to realise that for every hour of testing and analysis we put in, we get closer and closer to our ambition that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo,” said Broberg.

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