IAV Opens New Crash Test Facility in Southern Germany

Dedicated rollover section – also designed for electric vehicles

IAV’s new crash test facility in Großmehring near Ingolstadt has been in operation since August. Besides head-on collisions, it can be used for conducting rollover tests and is also suitable for testing electric vehicles. With test vehicles being delivered into a closed building and with three strictly separated customer areas, maximum confidentiality is guaranteed. In spite of its comprehensive technical outfit, it was possible to complete the crash test facility in less than a year.

The number of crash tests being performed is soaring – despite ever better simulations that are very good at predicting vehicle behavior in the event of an accident. “Even in the age of digitalization, practical testing is regarded as ultimate proof that a new car really is safe”, explains Bernhard Maier who planned IAV’s new crash test facility and is in now in charge of running it. “The growing demand for crash tests is partly due to the many vehicle derivatives, all of which need to undergo separate testing. On the other hand, organizations, like NCAP, are placing ever more exacting demands on safety which is also leading to more and more testing.” Whereas just a few years ago, an OEM had to carry out around 500 crash tests a year, the figure has meanwhile reached roughly a 1,000. And, at the moment, this is unlikely to fall. Autonomous driving will also be keeping the experts busy in future. With passengers then sitting in completely different positions, new crash tests will be needed too.

Dedicated section for rollover tests

IAV’s new crash test facility in South Germany is ready to cope with all existing and upcoming challenges. It comprises thee building segments covering an area totaling 10,000 square meters: vehicle preparation and startup, crash zone as well as an indoor area for rollover tests. “Most other crash test facilities conduct rollover tests outdoors or in the crash test area”, Maier says. “This dedicated area lets us keep rollover tests separate from the classic crashes and do work on them in parallel.” Here, the test vehicle is made to roll over or rotate as the basis for testing the sensors responsible for triggering the various airbags.

For conventional crash tests, the facility is equipped with a 100-ton concrete block that is designed to take maximum collision speeds of 110 kilometers an hour (vehicles weighing up to two tons) or 95 kilometers an hour (vehicles weighing up to five tons). It can also be pushed aside to permit head-on collisions between two cars each traveling at up to 50 kilometers an hour. “We can meet all of the world’s statutory requirements”, Maier says. One of the prerequisites is the temperature chamber which takes the vehicles and dummies to the prescribed temperature – depending on test, to between 20.6 and 22.2 degrees Celsius.

Pit for filming from below

The entire facility is lit with LED technology, guaranteeing high energy efficiency and planar illumination. In addition, the sensors of the measurement cameras are tuned to the luminous color of light-emitting diodes and provide optimum images in this illumination. Each test involves the use of up to 20 cameras which, under normal circumstances, deliver 1,000 frames per second in HD quality (1,920 x 1,080 pixels) – if requested, also from below. For this, the building has a filming pit with a Perspex cover panel. If timing needs to be tracked in particular detail (e.g. to verify correct airbag triggering), as many as 4,000 frames can be taken per second, albeit at lower resolution.

Before and after the collision, the test vehicles are measured by laser with millimeter precision. “This gives us an accurate picture of vehicle body deformation and tells us within just a few minutes after the collision whether all of the specifications have been met”, Maier explains. “Using stick-on target dots, we can follow vehicle behavior online and identify on this basis when exactly deformation occurred.” Besides being of use in actual crash testing, data gathered in this way also helps to perfect the simulation models.

The new crash test facility has three customer zones, each strictly shielded from each other. “Every customer gets its own key card that provides access to its particular workshop area and office”, Maier reports. “The OEM’s representatives can watch a crash from their own visitor area. Confidentiality is guaranteed at all times.” Test vehicles are delivered in such as way that prying eyes do not stand a chance of catching a glimpse. Cars are delivered on enclosed trucks and are only unloaded once they are inside a building.

Special procedure for e-vehicles

Electric vehicles can also be tested in IAV’s crash test facility. Following the impact, a mobile robot measures vehicle body temperature and establishes whether any gases are leaking from the battery. An electrician then checks whether voltage can be detected on the outer skin. In the event of problems, a special forklift takes the electric car into the open where it can be observed, and, if necessary, extinguished.

From planning permission, it took less than a year for the complex facility to go into operation – despite the exceptionally cold 2016/17 winter with three weeks of frozen ground and numerous archeological finds on the construction site. The facility is already being used to capacity.

Technical Specifications

Fixed and moving barriers

  • Messring movable impact block, mobile-linear, 3 positions
  • ECE moving barrier, including modification
  • FMVSS 214 moving barrier, including modification
  • Oblique NCAP barrier
  • Fixed barriers (30° barrier, Pole, AZT/RCAR, ODB, Small overlap (sensors come from the force-measuring wall))
  • Stat. vehicle grille
  • Flying floor
  • Rollover equipment, total (208 (sled and ramp), Embankment (sled and ramp), Sand pit (soil trip), Steering robot)

Dummies and accessories

  • HIII 50 %: 6
  • HIII 5 %: 4
  • ES2: 1
  • SIDIIs: 2
  • Q6: 1
  • Q10: 1
  • World SID 50 %: 1
  • THOR dummy: 1 (from mid-2018)
  • Aicon DPS dummy positioning system: 2

Measuring equipment/sensors

  • M-Bus Pro 128 K: 4
  • Trigger device: 4
  • Sensor system (channels): >2,000
  • HV equipment: 1
  • Force-measuring wall, 1 x 2 m, 128 cells
  • Small overlap force measurement

Cameras/illumination

  • Static camera PCO dimax: 15
  • Mobile camera AOS L-Vit: 15
  • Illumination on-board IES
  • Illumination off-board MR (ceiling/pit)
  • Ceiling cameras, traversing and remote-controlled

Workshop equipment

  • Stringo: 2
  • Lifting platform: 21
  • Wheel alignment stand
  • Measurement arms: 2
  • Creaform optical scanner
  • Aicon pro-cam system 3-D