Behind the Scenes at a Crash Test Facility

Behind the Scenes at a Crash Test Facility

Positive crash scores from the IIHS are like milk and honey to auto manufacturers, but how do those ratings come to be?

The IIHS released a video today giving a behind-the-scenes look at the equipment it uses to record crash tests so that it can review results as the crash happens in high definition. It’s a complicated process that takes place at the Vehicle Research Center (VRC); a studio designed to give a clear look at the crash test from almost every imaginable angle. The IIHS uses slow-motion and real-time video cameras as well as high-resolution still cameras.

Engineers review the footage and examine the crumpled remains to better understand a vehicle’s collision performance and how to improve it.

The industry hinges on feedback from the IIHS. For example, many manufacturers are still struggling to engineer vehicles to beat the relatively new small overlap crash test. Meant to mimic two vehicles glancing off one another in a head-on crash or a collision with a poll, the small overlap test is still confounding companies.

Most recently, the IIHS released results of its mid-size utility vehicle small overlap tests and GM’s Chevrolet Equinox and GMC Terrain were the only two to earn “good” ratings in all areas of the test.

Similarly, the Chevrolet Spark was the only sub-compact to earn a Top Safety Pick designation. Even then, the city-focused Chevy earned an “acceptable” rating in the small overlap category. Honda’s Fit ranked in the bottom two and the company vowed that the next next generation due for the 2015 model year would earn a Top Safety Pick rating.

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