Crash test

crash test is a form of destructive testing usually performed in order to ensure safe design standards in crashworthiness and crash compatibility for various modes of transportation or related systems and components.

Frontal small-overlap crash test of a 2012 Honda Odyssey.

2018 Dodge Grand Caravan being struck by a mobile deformable barrier at 62 km/h.

 

2016 Honda Fit striking a wall head-on at 56 km/h.

 

Passenger-side oblique crash test of a 2015 Chevrolet Malibu.

 

Jeep Liberty undergoing routine impact testing at Chrysler’s Proving Grounds

 

NHTSA research crash test involving two Ford Five Hundreds.

 

Full-scale crash test of various airbag technologies on an AH-1G (Mod) helicopter.

Types

  • Frontal-impact tests: which is what most people initially think of when asked about a crash test. Vehicles usually impact a solid concrete wall at a specified speed, but these can also be vehicle impacting vehicle tests. SUVs have been singled out in these tests for a while, due to the high ride-height that they often have.
  • Moderate Overlap tests: in which only part of the front of the car impacts with a barrier (vehicle). These are important, as impact forces (approximately) remain the same as with a frontal impact test, but a smaller fraction of the car is required to absorb all of the force. These tests are often realized by cars turning into oncoming traffic. This type of testing is done by the U.S.A. Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS), EuroNCAP, Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) and ASEAN NCAP.
  • Small Overlap tests: this is where only a small portion of the car’s structure strikes an object such as a pole or a tree, or if a car were to clip another car. This is the most demanding test because it loads the most force onto the structure of the car at any given speed. These are usually conducted at 15-20% of the front vehicle structure.
  • Side-impact tests: these forms of accidents have a very significant likelihood of fatality, as cars do not have a significant crumple zone to absorb the impact forces before an occupant is injured.
  • Roll-over tests: which tests a car’s ability (specifically the pillars holding the roof) to support itself in a dynamic impact. More recently, dynamic rollover tests have been proposed in lieu of static crush testing (video).[1]
  • Roadside hardware crash tests: are used to ensure crash barriers and crash cushions will protect vehicle occupants from roadside hazards, and also to ensure that guard rails, sign posts, light poles and similar appurtenances do not pose an undue hazard to vehicle occupants.
  • Old versus new: Often an old and big car against a small and new car,[2][3] or two different generations of the same car model. These tests are performed to show the advancements in crashworthiness.[citation needed]
  • Computer model: Because of the cost of full-scale crash tests, engineers often run many simulated crash tests using computer models to refine their vehicle or barrier designs before conducting live tests.
  • Sled testing: A cost-effective way of testing components such as airbags and seat belts is conducting sled crash testing. The two most common types of sled systems are reverse-firing sleds which are fired from a standstill, and decelerating sleds which are accelerated from a starting point and stopped in the crash area with a hydraulic ram.

Major providers

 

Fiat 500 del 2007 in Euro NCAP crash test (Torino museum).

 

This auto test track is used for a range of tests. It is operated by Consumer Reports.

  • Australasian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP)
  • Auto Review Car Assessment Program (ARCAP)
  • China New Car Assessment Program (C-NCAP)
  • European New Car Assessment Programme (Euro NCAP)
  • Allgemeiner Deutscher Automobil-Club (ADAC) in Germany
  • Japan New Car Assessment Program (JNCAP)
  • Latin New Car Assessment Program (Latin NCAP) in Latin America
  • National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, specifically the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) and New Car Assessment Program (NCAP)
  • Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) in the United States

Data collection

 

Crash Test graphics

 

Crash test dummy left paraplegic after a severe oblique crash test inside a 1997 Geo Metro.

Crash tests are conducted under rigorous scientific and safety standards. Each crash test is very expensive so the maximum amount of data must be extracted from each test. Usually, this requires the use of high-speed data-acquisition, at least one triaxialaccelerometer and a crash test dummy, but often includes more.

Some organizations that conduct crash tests include Monash University department of Civil Engineering, which routinely conducts crash tests for the purposes of roadside barrier safety and design.

Consumer response

  • In 1998 the Rover 100 received a one-star Adult Occupant Rating in EuroNCAP crash tests; sales promptly collapsed and the 18-year-old design was quickly scrapped.
  • In 2005 the Daewoo Kalos made news in Europe and Australia by scoring only two stars in its crash test, resulting in lower sales and demonstrating the influence of vehicle crashworthiness on a model’s success in the marketplace. The result for Holden in Australia, who retailed the Kalos under the Holden Barina name, resulted in a considerable amount of negative publicity, with the managing director of Holden forced to publicly defend the vehicle[4]
  • The second generation Isuzu Trooper (1995–1997) models were rated “Not Acceptable” by Consumer Reports for their tendency to roll over during testing. After the report Trooper sales never recovered and two years later production ceased.

Crash testing programs

There are a number of crash test programs around the world dedicated to providing consumers with a source of comparitative information in relation to the safety performance of new and used vehicles. Examples of new car crash test programs include National Highway Traffic Safety Administration‘s NCAP, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, Australasian New Car Assessment Program, EuroNCAP and JapNCAP. Programs such as the Used Car Safety Ratings provide consumers information on the safety performance of vehicles based on real world crash data.

References

  1. “Newly Developed Roof Crush Test Proves Existence of Safer Vehicles that can Withstand Rollover Crashes”. The Center for Auto Safety.
  2. “Ford Fiesta Vs Ford Sierra”. ADAC. Archived from the original on April 19, 2008.
  3. Renault Modus Vs Volvo 940. Archived from the original on February 16, 2014.
  4. Fallah, Alborz (14 June 2006). “Holden Barina 2006 Poor Safety Slows Sales”. CarAdvice.
Automobile safety Automobile safety is the study and practice of design, construction, equipment and regulation to minimize the occurrence and consequences of traffic collisions. Road traffic safety more broadly includes roadway design. One of the first formal academic studies into improving vehicle safety was by Cornell Aeronautical Laboratory of Buffalo, New York. The main conclusion of their extensive report is the crucial importance of seat belts and padded dashboards. However, the primary vector of traffic-related deaths and injuries is the disproportionate mass and velocity of an automobile compared to that of the predominant victim, the pedestrian. According to the WHO, 80% of cars sold in the world are not compliant with main safety standards. Only 40 countries have adopted the full set of the seven most important regulations for car safety. In the United States a pedestrian is injured by an automobile every 8 minutes, and are 1.5 times more likely than a vehicle's occupants to be kill...
Seat belt A seat belt (also known as a seatbelt or safety belt) is a vehicle safety device designed to secure the occupant of a vehicle against harmful movement that may result during a collision or a sudden stop. A seat belt functions to reduce the likelihood of death or serious injury in a traffic collision by reducing the force of secondary impacts with interior strike hazards, by keeping occupants positioned correctly for maximum effectiveness of the airbag (if equipped) and by preventing occupants being ejected from the vehicle in a crash or if the vehicle rolls over. When in motion, the driver and passengers are travelling at the same speed as the car. If the driver makes the car suddenly stop or crashes it, the driver and passengers continue at the same speed the car was going before it stopped. A seatbelt applies an opposing force to the driver and passengers to prevent them from falling out or making contact with the interior of the car. Seatbelts are considered Primary Restraint Sys...
Crash test dummy A crash test dummy is a full-scale anthropomorphic test device (ATD) that simulates the dimensions, weight proportions and articulation of the human body, and is usually instrumented to record data about the dynamic behavior of the ATD in simulated vehicle impacts. The Crash Test Dummy is widely used by researchers and automobile companies to predict the biomechanics, force, impact, and injury of a human being in an automobile crash. This data can include variables such as velocity of impact, crushing force, bending, folding, or torque of the body, and deceleration rates during a collision for use in crash tests. The more advanced dummies are sophisticated machines designed to behave as a human body and with many sensors to record the forces of an impact; they may cost over US$400,000. For the purpose of U.S. regulation and Global Technical Regulations and for clear communication in safety and seating design,dummies carry specifically designated reference points, such as the H-point...
Collision avoidance system A collision avoidance system is an automobile safety system designed to prevent or reduce the severity of a collision. It is also known as a precrash system, forward collision warning system, or collision mitigating system. It uses radar (all-weather) and sometimes laser (LIDAR) and camera (employing image recognition) to detect an imminent crash. GPS sensors can detect fixed dangers such as approaching stop signs through a location database. Once an impending collision is detected, these systems provide a warning to the driver. When the collision becomes imminent they take action autonomously without any driver input (by braking or steering or both). Collision avoidance by braking is appropriate at low vehicle speeds (e.g. below 50 km/h), while collision avoidance by steering may be more appropriate at higher vehicle speeds if lanes are clear. Cars with collision avoidance may also be equipped with adaptive cruise control, using the same forward-looking sensors. In March 2016, t...
Crumple zone The crumple zone is a structural safety feature mainly used in automobiles to absorb the energy from the impact during a collision by controlled deformation, and recently also incorporated into railcars. Crumple zones are designed to absorb the energy from the impact during a traffic collision by controlled deformation by crumpling. This energy is much greater than is commonly realized. A 2,000 kg (4,409 lb) car travelling at 60 km/h (37 mph; 17 m/s), before crashing into a thick concrete wall, is subject to the same impact force as a front-down drop from a height of 14.2 m (47 ft) crashing on to a solid concrete surface. Increasing that speed by 50% to 90 km/h (56 mph; 25 m/s) compares to a fall from 32 m (105 ft)—an increase of 125%. This is because the stored kinetic energy (E) is given by E = (1/2) mass × speed squared. It increases by the square of the impact velocity. Typically, crumple zones are located in the front part of the vehicle, in order to absorb the impact of a h...