Safety Center opened in 2000
Biggest hit includes 850-tonne concrete block
Volvo is marking 20 years of one of the most advanced crash safety labs in the world. The Volvo Cars Safety Center is celebrating a birthday, we’d guess they’re doing it by crashing more cars.
The automaker says that the lab crashes at least one new Volvo a day, on average, and that’s part of the company’s commitment to improving automotive safety. The lab helps engineers push the safety envelope, learning from real-life accidents, as they continue toward the goal of a future when nobody is killed or seriously injured while in a new Volvo.
“Being committed to safety is not about passing a test or getting a safety rating,” said Volvo safety engineer Thomas Broberg. “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.”
Inside the lab are two test tracks. A shorter 108 m track can be moved to allow impacts at angles from zero to 90 degrees to simulate different types of crashes, or even to simulate a crash between two moving cars. All at speeds of up to 120 km/h. The longer of the two is a stationary 154 m track.
Outside, Volvo has test facilities that let them simulate roll-over crashes, and even run scenarios where cars are launched into ditches at high speeds. On top of gathering engineering data, Volvo lets rescue services hone their skills at the site, like when it dropped a series of vehicles from a crane earlier this year.
The crash barrier Volvo uses is 850 tonnes of concrete, moved around as needed on air cushions. It helps to validate the thousands of computer-simulated tests done before any design is put into metal. Volvo’s lab has around two dozen other fixed and moving barriers including one that simulates crashing into a moose. Which anyone driving in rural Canada at night will appreciate.