In the name of saving lives, Volvo has resorted to their most extreme crash test ever according to the company – by dropping 10 different models (several times) from 30 metres off the ground by using a crane.
The unconventional method was meant to help extrication specialists hone their lifesaving skills. By simulating the forces resulting from an extreme crash, these professionals can prepare for any possible crash scenario beyond what can be simulated with ordinary crash testing.
By dropping these cars continuously, it causes enough damage to adequately simulate damages from the most extreme crash scenarios. Also, in such situations, occupants are likely to be in a critical condition.
Therefore the priority is to get the passengers out of the car and to a hospital as quickly as possible, using hydraulic rescue tools known in the industry as ‘jaws of life’. Extrication specialists often talk about the “golden hour”; referring to the one hour window they have to release the injured passenger(s) and get them to the hospital.
All findings from the crashes and the resulting extrication work will be collected in an extensive research report. This report will be made available, completely free of use to rescue workers elsewhere, allowing them to benefit from this unconventional experiment.
Normally, rescue workers get their training vehicles from scrapyards but they’re usually up to 20 years old. In terms of steel strength, safety cage construction and overall durability, there is a vast difference between modern cars and those built 15 to 20 years ago. Also because Volvo vehicles are made of some of the hardest steel found in modern cars.
By doing so, it helps rescue workers to constantly update themselves with newer car models and review their processes, in order to develop new extrication techniques
“Normally we only crash cars in the laboratory. This was the first time we dropped them from a crane,” said Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research, senior investigator, Håkan Gustafson.
That’s not all. In the name of being ultra-detailed, Volvo Cars safety engineers even made exact calculations before the drop to determine how much pressure and force each car needed to endure, in order to reach the desired level of damage.