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Milestones: Volvo Cars’ Crash-Test Laboratory

Replicating road accidents contributes to crash safety research.

by on May.13, 2010

The lab's crash block weighs 850 tons.

Volvo Cars’ crash-test laboratory in Torslanda is ten years old this year. When the new safety center was inaugurated by Sweden’s King Carl XVI Gustaf in early 2000, it was one of the most advanced in the car industry – arguably a position it retains due to the continuous upgrading of equipment and test methods. During this period almost 3,000 full-scale tests that have been carried out.

The crash-test laboratory has one fixed and one movable test track. The movable track can be adjusted from zero to 90 degrees. This allows tests of various incident and accident scenarios, from frontal impacts to side impacts, between two moving cars approaching at different angles and speeds. In addition, avoidance and mitigation of collisions can also be tested. The facility currently can conduct more than 400 full-scale tests a year.

“We can replicate most of the incident and accident scenarios that take place out on the roads. By analyzing 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 two tracks meet above a six-meter deep, Plexiglas-covered pit used for filming the collision tests from underneath. Over the years, the Plexiglas shield has witnessed a number of remarkable crash tests.