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NewsThe New Science of Car Safety: X-Ray Crash Analysis

The New Science of Car Safety: X-Ray Crash Analysis

Mercedes-Benz is Unveiling the Invisible: High-Speed X-Ray Technology Transforms Car Safety Analysis

  • Mercedes-Benz pioneers the first X-ray crash test, offering a novel view of internal dynamics during a collision.

  • High-speed X-ray imaging captures 1,000 motion-blur-free images per second, revealing unprecedented details.

  • This innovation marks a significant advancement in vehicle safety research, integrating seamlessly with existing analysis tools.


Ever wonder what happens inside a car during a high-impact crash? Thanks to cutting-edge X-ray technology, the veil has been lifted, allowing engineers an unprecedented look at the split-second chaos that unfolds when tons of metal collide. In an innovative crash test, Mercedes-Benz has harnessed the power of high-speed X-ray imaging to capture never-before-seen footage of a side impact collision.

The Spectacle of the X-ray Crash Test

Imagine the dramatic scene: a device with a crash barrier rams into an orange C-Class saloon at a breathtaking speed of 60 km/h, hitting it full-on the side. This side impact test is not just another crash; it’s a technological marvel. Suspended from the ceiling above the vehicle is a linear accelerator serving as an X-ray camera, capturing every millisecond of the collision. On board the crashed car, a specially designed SID II dummy with a female anatomy provides invaluable data for side impact analysis.

Technological Breakthrough in High-Speed X-Ray Imaging

The key to this achievement lies in the high-speed X-ray technology employed. Unlike conventional X-ray procedures, the linear accelerator boasts a photon energy of up to nine megaelectron volts, allowing it to penetrate through all materials commonly used in vehicle construction. With the ability to generate a continuous stream of X-ray pulses, each lasting only a few microseconds, the system can capture up to 1,000 motion-blur-free images per second – about 1,000 times more than traditional methods.

Insights and Innovations from the X-Ray Crash Test

As Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG, Chief Technology Officer, aptly stated, “The Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash sets a milestone in the development tools of the future. With a direct view into the hidden interior, it can help to draw important conclusions for the further improvement of vehicle safety. Mercedes-Benz thus confirms its role as a safety pioneer in automotive engineering.”

Dr. Malte Kurfiß, Head of the Crash Test Centre at Fraunhofer EMI, echoed this sentiment, saying, “The successful X-ray crash provides us with valuable insights to further optimize our technology for capturing previously inaccessible information.”

Integration with Existing Safety Analysis Tools

Remarkably, the X-ray crash test does not interfere with other analysis tools, such as the interior cameras within the crash test vehicle, allowing for a comprehensive evaluation of safety features. Furthermore, a comprehensive radiation protection concept, including a 40-centimetre-thick concrete wall and a 45-tonne protection door, ensures the safety of all employees involved.

Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash | Photo: Mercedes-benz
Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash | Photo: Mercedes-benz
Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash | Photo: Mercedes-benz
Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash | Photo: Mercedes-benz
Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash | Photo: Mercedes-benz
Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash | Photo: Mercedes-benz

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