Virtual side impact test.

Crash Testing

The crash test dummy sits more on the sidelines as engineers develop advanced safety systems by crashing cars on computer rather than speeding prototypes into a concrete barrier.

The VSSI team at GM Holden (it stands for Vehicle Structure and Safety Integration) uses leading-edge virtual technology tools to run thousands of crash modelling tests that simulate just about every crash situation you can think of and assess every single system under development.

These extremely complex models can run more tests than you could ever contemplate in physical testing and provide more information. They cover a huge range of impact scenarios and occupant criteria because all Holden safety systems are designed to match the real world driving environment.

Barrier crash tests at GM Holden's Lang Lang safety test laboratory are used to confirm virtual test results of vehicle body structure and restraint systems.

Collision types include full frontal crashes, offset impacts typical of crashes on undivided roads, angled impacts, truck under-rides, side impacts with vehicles or fixed objects such as poles, and rear impacts.

GM Holden also conducts crash testing to the Australian NCAP test protocol. There are three crashes (one front and two side impacts) used by NCAP to provide a star rating to consumers. Tests in the NCAP configurations are a small sub-set of the total crash testing carried out by Holden to ensure a high level of vehicle crash safety in real world crashes.

During a barrier test, the car is towed towards a barrier at speeds of up to 88 km/h and is filmed from many angles by up to 16 high-speed cameras. Side and rear impact testing utilises mobile deformable barriers.

Many more sled tests are also carried out at Lang Lang. These simulate vehicle decelerations using data from barrier crash results. They do not destroy a vehicle and are used primarily to develop restraint systems such as airbags and seat belts.

GM Holden uses a fully instrumented family of biofidelic test dummies in crash testing.

Each is designed to mimic the human body in a crash situation. The weight and mass of various anatomical segments is matched according to gender, size and age criteria.

During VE Commodore testing, dummy selection ranged from a six month old baby to a large adult male.

GM continues to develop and evaluate test dummies with the aim of creating even more effective tools to evaluate future occupant protection measures.

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