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Honda Opens U.S. Safety Lab

787 Views 1 Reply 2 Participants Last post by  cyboexpo2002
RAYMOND, Ohio — With the drama of several live crash tests, American Honda Motor Co., Inc., introduced to reporters this week its new Automotive Safety Research Facility, a $30 million addition to the Honda R&D Americas (HRA) campus that opened here in 1985 and has played a part in developing roughly a third of the 1.35 million vehicles Honda Motors will sell in the United States this year.

The new state-of-the-art facility, built to complement an existing safety laboratory in Tochigi, Japan, is critical to the company’s “Safety for Everyone” commitment, which promises to make advanced safety features standard equipment on 99 percent of all Hondas and Acuras by 2007 and to improve crash compatibility among vehicles of all sizes — and even against pedestrians.

Charlie Baker, vice president of HRA, said 40 percent of real-world collisions that result in occupant fatalities occur between vehicles of differing weights, whereas only 13 percent are between vehicles of the same weight. Single-vehicle accidents account for the other 47 percent. Though barrier-style crash tests are effective in emulating the latter two collision types, Baker said so-called “incompatible” vehicles required a new line of study to which Honda committed in 2000 with an “omnidirectional” crash facility at the Tochigi center, a sprawling structure within which two vehicles can be crashed into each other.

“Through this research, both by simulation and actual research, we understood the challenges,” Baker said. Car-to-car crashes revealed how poorly barriers emulate a second vehicle. Even a deformable barrier has too uniform a surface, and therefore distributes the crash energy, or load, too evenly, he said. “In the actual vehicle, the load is concentrated. It’s the frame rails, and the engine and transmission, which act as a lumped mass.” The frame rails are the lowest, outermost segments of a vehicle structure and conventionally the element designed to absorb and direct crash energy, sparing the occupant space.

“There’s also a challenge of misalignment with other vehicles and a chance of override, in car-to-truck crashes, especially,” Baker said. “We also have to take the next step forward in absorbing the energy in the engine compartment, not in the passenger compartment.”

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Let me get this straight:

They need a $30 million addition to help them find out how a soda bottle crunches? ;)

J/K in advance...

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