When rescue crews practice and test new cutting kit they usually do it on older scrapped cars either donated by the public or taken from salvage yards.
While useful, this does not give the rescuers an insight into brand new vehicles and how they perform in accidents. To counter this Volvo has undertaken an unusual exercise and repeatedly dropped ten of its new models from a crane at a height of 30m. This gave the rescuers the opportunity to see what damage is caused and hone techniques to get the occupants out quickly.
The exercise took place at the Volvo Cars Safety Centre in Sweden, and beforehand engineers worked out what type of impacts they want to simulate, like single-car accidents at very high speed, accidents whereby a car hits a truck at high speed, or accidents whereby a car takes a severe hit from the side.
“We have been working closely together with the Swedish rescue services for many years,” noted Håkan Gustafson, a senior investigator with the Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research Team. “That is because we have the same goal: to have safer roads for all. We hope no one ever needs to experience the most severe accidents, but not all accidents can be avoided. So it is vital there are methods to help save lives when the most severe accidents do happen.”
The researchers are planning to compile the results and make them available to anyone working the rescue industry.