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autoviva2010-05-09 13:55:59

Volvo’s crash-test laboratory celebrates 10th anniversary

Volvo’s crash-test laboratory celebrates 10th anniversary

Volvo Cars’ crash-test laboratory is celebrating 10 years of work. Thanks to this facility, located in Torsland Volvo has completed almost 3,000 full-scale tests in the last ten years, giving the brand a help on handing safer vehicles to its owners.

"We can replicate most of the incident and accident scenarios that take place out on the roads. By analysing these and then testing new safety technology in the crash-test laboratory, we can improve the safety level in our cars so that they become even safer in real-life traffic conditions," says Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars.

The laboratory was inaugurated by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf in the beginning of 2000 and at the time it was one of the most advanced safety centres in the car industry. Since that time the laboratory hasn’t stopped to the continuous implementation of new equipment and new test methods to retain its position.

One of the latest investments in technology was in a set of digital high-speed cameras that can take 200,000 frames per second.

"The new cameras give us exceptional scope for studying collisions down to the tiniest detail. What is more, we have a number of miniature cameras that are installed inside the cars to capture what happens with various key components in the vehicle," relates Thomas Broberg.

At the Torsland safety centre is a central piece in one of the main goals of Volvo. "The risk of being involved in an accident or being injured in one of our latest car models has been more than halved compared with a Volvo from the 1970s. We are continuously taking new steps towards our vision that nobody should die or suffer serious injuries in a new Volvo car by the year 2020. The crash-test laboratory is a central part of this development," says Broberg.

The crash-test laboratory is equipped with a fixed and a movable track. With the movable track being able to be adjusted from 0 to 90 degrees, the safety centre can carry out tests involving a variety of incident and accident scenarios, from frontal impacts to side impacts, between two moving cars approach at different angles and speeds. It can also test avoidance and mitigation of collision. Currently the crash-test laboratory carries out more than 400 full-scale tests a year.

The two tracks meet above a Plexiglas-covered pit that is used to film the collision tests from underneath. Thanks to this Plexiglas shield, Volvo has been able to witness a number of remarkable crash tests.

At the end of the fixed track we encounter a concrete slab that is used for various tests such as rollovers and tests including avoidance or mitigation of a crash. As for the end of the movable track, the surrounding landscape becomes an integrated part of the crash-test laboratory. In this case the crash-tests are made against a variety of objects that can be found in traffic.

Besides the full-time workers of the safety centre there is also a group of silent but at the same time very efficient staff members that are extremely important for the lab’s work: the crash-test-dummies.

"In order to offer cars with a safety level of absolute world class, we must ensure that our safety systems are suitable for different occupant sizes at a wide range of speeds and in various traffic situations. It is this ability to replicate incidents and accidents from real-life traffic situations that makes our Safety Centre special. The crash-test laboratory can also help verify the functionality of collision-avoiding technologies," says Thomas Broberg.





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