US: Ford reaches crash-test milestone image

You know that various bodies organize crash-tests to asses the safety of new vehicles on the market, with specific requirements for different regions – Europe has a set of standards, the US another, Australia its own.

So, each automaker needs to have its own safety assessment facility to ensure its models each meet the required standards. Meet Ford’s Dearborn venue, where the second biggest automaker in US crash-tests it vehicles. It actually reached an interesting milestone – 20.000 crashes in the name of safety, conducted from 1954 onwards.

Worldwide, Ford employs north of 500 safety experts, which conducted more than 31,000 crashes all around the world at 1,800 sites – Ford needed 40 years for the first 20,000 and half that time for the rest.

Jackie Shuk, Ford chief engineer for North American vehicle evaluation and verification and global testing says the crash test facility in Dearborn alone has five vehicles in different configurations crashed every day, with a facility in the proximity reaching the 10,000 milestone of servo sled tests (a dummy is strapped to a platform that hits a barrier).

Nand Kochhar, Ford global safety chief engineer, further says that when it comes to dummies (the representation of a human – from child to adult, filled with sensors, that is used in crashes to collect data) – they have more than 100, ranging from an 18 months toddler to a very large male.

And, because each and every crash costs a small fortune – as each dummy alone can cost from $50,000 to as much as $700,000 – the engineers also spend weeks running thousands of computer simulations before moving on to the car bashing.