Volvo drops 10 brand-new cars from a crane, but it's all in a good cause
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Usually, emergency services train on cars purchased from scrapyards. But they are often 15-20 years old and don't have anywhere near the structural strength of new vehicles.
The Volvo Cars Safety Centre often assists in training for Swedish "extrication specialists" and in its latest exercise it dropped several brand-new models 30 metres from a crane, to simulate the result of the most extreme crash forces.
In such situations, people inside the car are likely to be in a critical condition. Therefore the priority is to get people out of the car and to a hospital as quickly as possible, using hydraulic rescue tools known in the industry as "jaws of life". Extrication specialists often talk about the golden hour: they need to release and get a patient to the hospital within one hour after the accident has happened.
“We have been working closely together with the Swedish rescue services for many years,” says Håkan Gustafson, a senior investigator with the Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research Team. “It is vital there are methods to help save lives when the most severe accidents do happen.”
All findings from the crashes and the resulting extrication work will be collected in an extensive research report. This report will be made available free of use to rescue workers elsewhere.
“Normally we only crash cars in the laboratory, but this was the first time we dropped them from a crane,” says Gustafson. “We knew we would see extreme deformations after the test, and we did this to give the rescue team a real challenge to work with.”
A total of 10 Volvos, of different models, were dropped from the crane several times. Before the drop, Volvo Cars safety engineers made exact calculations about how much pressure and force each car needed to be exposed to, in order to reach the desired level of damage.