Audi opens a new vehicle safety facility claiming improved crash-testing technology.
The Audi Vehicle Safety Center on the automaker’s Ingolstadt, Germany, campus is the result of about $106 million invested to create an 820-ft. (250-m) run-up track, a mobile 100-ton crash block and the ability to collide two vehicles at a 90-degree angle.
The block is arranged in the crash arena so that it can be moved and rotated, enabling a highly efficient process for the many different types of crash tests. The area is crisscrossed with several crash lanes, enabling research on collisions between two vehicles and integral safety. The so-called “flying floor” also allows vehicles to be driven sideways against obstacles. Each vehicle undergoes a high double-digit number of test scenarios before it is launched.
Audi says the concept, technology and adjacent expansion areas were planned to meet the requirements of future generations of vehicles. They allow the center to be used flexibly and ensure that it can be equipped to meet new technological requirements, even as standards and regulations in global markets continue to tighten.
More than 60 crash-test dummies of various types are used in the new crash arena – from an 18-month-old toddler to an adult weighing 225 lbs. (102 kg). The high-tech Thor dummies have up to 150 sensors for Audi to obtain relevant data during the tests.
Despite the rapid progress in simulation technology, actual crash and component testing remains essential, says the automaker. This is because the various national authorities in countries where Audi models are marketed have approval procedures that require physical crash tests. In product development, on the other hand, the two methods are highly synergistic, with findings from both simulation and physical testing flowing into the process.
Oliver Hoffmann, a member of the Audi board of management for technical development, says, Today’s Audi models achieve outstanding results in globally valid test procedures…we’re continuing to improve our development and testing capabilities.”