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Milford, Michigan, Every Day Is a Wreck
Marks its 15,000th Crash Test
new Pontiac G6 Is the latest vehicle to take a hit in the name of
ramming a barrier into the side of a new Pontiac G6 sedan, today,
General Motors will mark its 15,000th crash test since the company
officially began recording them in the late 1950s.
test is one of hundreds conducted every year at the GM Proving Ground in
Milford, where safety engineers validate GM's advanced safety
technologies that help protect drivers and passengers in a crash.
years ago, in 1934, GM introduced the world's first barrier crash test,
long before the first federal safety regulations. GM's commitment to
testing beyond government requirements continues today.
side-impact, deformable barrier is used to test the Pontiac G6. Click
tests have given us a profound understanding of vehicle safety,"
said Robert C. Lange, GM executive director of structure and safety
integration. "Full vehicle crash tests are among the tools we use
to assess vehicle safety technology advancements that have helped reduce
the motor vehicle fatality rate by about 30 percent over the last two
test on the Pontiac G6 will be a severe side impact, such as an
intersection-type crash. The test involves placing a dummy,
representative of a 172-pound man, into the driver's seat and another in
the rear passenger seat of a vehicle, then slamming a barrier into the
driver's side at 38.5 miles an hour. The barrier deforms in the crash,
mimicking what would happen to the front of the striking vehicle.
Scientific instruments in the dummies measure the probability of
specific injuries a human would receive.
impact crashes account for about 30 percent of collisions and 25 percent
part of a voluntary industry commitment, GM has already started to
provide enhanced side impact protection for passenger car and light
truck occupants. The commitment calls for all vehicles to have this
enhanced protection by 2009. This will include enhanced side structures
and additional technologies that help protect the head in side-impact
crashes such as side air bags and air bag curtains.
degree of penetration into the occupant compartment, and the
amount of distortion to the roof and floor-pan are important
factors in a side-impact crash test, Click
to enlarge the photo.
test is an example of how far we've come in vehicle crash testing,"
Lange said. "We started with one crash condition - the frontal
crash - and one dummy simulating an average-sized male. Today we test
for 29 different crash conditions using an entire family of dummies.
for every physical test, GM conducts a hundred times as many virtual
crash events, using high-powered computers to simulate combinations of
occupant sizes; crash conditions; restraint systems; and vehicle
materials and types. The combination of crash tests, virtual simulations
and crash analyses provides us with the data that helps us develop safer
vehicles," Lange said.
than 30 years ago, GM led in the development and sharing of today's
sophisticated crash test dummies, which monitor the forces on the human
body during a crash. Costing more than $100,000 each, these dummies -
formally known as anthropomorphic test devices (or ATDs) - are wired
with sensors that transmit dozens of continuous measurements to a
computer that records a stream of data 4,000 times during the two-fifths
of a second duration of a crash.
said that in the future, engineers likely will be able to use computer
modeling to create an even wider variety of crash test subjects that
take characteristics such as age and physical condition into account.
This will be increasingly important as the large number of Baby Boomers
advance in age.
unblemished Pontiac G6
more information about GM's vehicle safety technologies and safety