GM Opens New Rollover Crash Test Facility

I thought I’d just post this because the photos looked really cool, haha. Anyways, to sum it up, General Motors has opened a new rollover crash test facility this Tuesday, which costed about $10 Million dollars. Continue reading for more photos.

GM Opens State-of-the-Art Rollover Crash Testing Facility

Goal is Reducing Injuries and Deaths by Sensor Development, Occupant Containment

General Motors opened a state-of-the-art rollover crash test facility Tuesday, becoming the first North American automaker to integrate in-house testing for the infrequent but potentially deadly rollover crashes that claim 10,000 lives a year.

Rollovers account for just 2 percent of all crashes but claim 40 percent of the fatalities annually on American roadways, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA).

GM?s goal for the $10 million facility is to study ways to potentially reduce injuries and deaths in rollover crashes by developing sensors for air bags that can help protect occupants in a rollover and help to keep occupants from being ejected. Conducting rollover tests in house also increases efficiency and saves money,

?We?ve been working on understanding rollover crashes for many years and our commitment to making StabiliTrak electronic stability control standard on our cars and trucks is a big part of that,?? GM Vice President of Energy and Environment Beth Lowery said at a news conference following the first public test at the facility.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) estimated earlier this year that almost 80 percent of single-vehicle rollovers could be avoided if all vehicles on the road were equipped with electronic stability control.

NHTSA Administrator Nicole Nason attended Tuesday?s controlled test, in which a red Buick Rainier approached a single-track ramp at 46 miles an hour, went airborne briefly, landed on its side and slid into a large net anchored by retractable tension cables.

“The work at this facility will contribute to fewer deaths and injuries from rollover crashes,” Administrator Nason said. ” GM understands that their customers care about safety. ”

During the news conference, Lowery announced that all GM retail-delivered cars and trucks will have standard rollover-enabled side curtain airbags by the 2012 model year. Rollover bags are currently available on 43 percent of GM light trucks, and all GM light trucks will have them standard by the 2009 model year.

Rollover-enabled air bags are tuned to stay inflated after a crash for about five seconds vs. the 300 milliseconds of protection provided by head-curtain air bags that deploy in a side-impact collision.

?As with other crashes, the chances of surviving a rollover and sustaining less-severe injuries are dramatically improved with safety belt use,? said Bob Lange, executive director of Structure and Safety Integration. ?We know that rollover-enabled bags can make a significant difference for many occupants who are properly restrained in a safety belt or child seat, and they may help contain the unbelted occupant as well.?

State-of-the-Art Fixtures

The 38,500-square-foot rollover crash test facility is the newest safety lab in the 4,000-acre Proving Grounds and is located adjacent to GM?s existing barrier building, where about 600 full vehicle crash tests are conducted each year. Between 150 and 200 rollover crash tests will be conducted a year in the new facility beginning in 2007, including a range of models from GM?s global product portfolio.

The rollover facility includes a 120-foot bay of lights consisting of 1,728 lamps, each generating 1,000 watts of light. The lights can move from 27 feet above to within one foot of the floor and articulate to 80 degrees allowing better illumination of the crashes that are captured on high-speed video for analysis.

Multiple types of rollover tests will be conducted in the new facility, including:

Trip Over ?The most frequent type of rollover, accounting for nearly 70 percent of rollovers. A driver loses control, slides sideways, and has the motion of the vehicle arrested by hitting a curb or sliding off of the road.

Ditch Fall-over ? This simulates a driver driving off of the side of a road onto a steep embankment and over-correcting. The ditch fixture has four 5,500-pound panels that can be positioned to simulate different angles of descent. It represents about 10 percent of rollovers.

Corkscrew Ramp Flip-over ? This simulates a driver at high speed striking a rigid object like a center median and flipping over and remaining in the original lanes of travel (as opposed to going into oncoming traffic). It account for about 5 percent of rollovers.

Dolly Rollover ? This test has been used in rollover research for more than 35 years and is conducted with the vehicle being pulled sideways on a platform at a 23-degree angle.

[Source: GM]