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Nissan consolidates crash testing at suburban Detroit safety lab.

Nissan Adds Safety Testing Lab to Technical Center

The Safety Advancement Lab for vehicle safety testing will help the company reach its goal of zero fatalities, Nissan says. The lab also will be used to test the integrity of the battery packs used in electric vehicles.

Nissan opens a $40 million crash-test center at the Nissan Technical Center in Farmington Hills, MI. 

The Safety Advancement Lab for vehicle testing brings more efficiency to product development and will help the company reach its goal of zero fatalities, Nissan representatives say. The lab will be used to test the integrity of battery packs used in electric vehicles. 

“This expansion underscores Nissan’s commitment to the region and enables us to be a global center of excellence for new vehicle testing,” says Chris Reed, regional senior vice president-R&D, Nissan Americas. 

“The goal of virtually zero fatalities is always guiding our work. The combination of this new lab plus our passive and active safety technologies can help us reach that goal.”  

Until the opening of the Farmington Hills lab, Nissan engineers had to travel to different test centers around the U.S. to check on crash-test results. Placing the crash test center on the Nissan engineering campus in Michigan will lead to greater efficiency and productivity, says Nissan spokeswoman Wendy Payne. 

The 116,000-sq.-ft. (10,777-sq.-m) Safety Advancement Lab expansion, which is housed in a building adjacent to the engineering center, allows Nissan to conduct full vehicle crash testing, vehicle certification, advanced development testing and benchmarking, the automaker says.  

Engineers will be able to conduct 48 different passive safety crash test simulations onsite, creating efficiencies in timing and results analysis. 

The safety center is equipped with state-of-art, high-speed photography systems, data acquisition equipment and a precise vehicle tow system to collect results from physical tests. 

The site includes a test dummy calibration lab (pictured, below), space for preparing vehicles and a pedestrian safety lab. 

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Nissan representatives say the safety center will be part of the automaker’s efforts to remake the company’s product line. 

Nissan is a pioneer in electrification since the launch of the all-electric Leaf in 2010 and expects 40% of its model line to be electric by 2030.  

“Here in the Safety Advancement Laboratory, we’re focused on passive safety,” says Mike Bristol, director-vehicle safety test engineering, Nissan Technical Center North America (NTCNA). 

“Our vehicles come equipped with technology to help prevent a crash, but in the event that there is a collision, we’re focused on helping protect customers from injury and evaluating the vehicle-structure performance, airbag performance, seatbelt performance and other mechanisms,” he says. 

Established more than 30 years ago, the NTCNA is the main campus for Nissan R&D in the Americas and now has more than 1,200 employees. The Michigan campus houses production engineering, research and testing, purchasing, quality and administration operations. 

NTCNA currently is responsible for vehicles such as the Nissan Altima, Frontier, Leaf, Rogue, Sentra, Maxima, Pathfinder, Murano, Titan, Versa and Infiniti QX60. The Michigan-based team tests and validates systems such as Nissan ProPILOT Assist and Nissan Leaf e-Pedal onsite. 

The new lab brings Nissan’s overall investment in Farmington Hills to more than $310 million since NTCNA opened in 1991, Payne says.


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