Ford Motor Co has decided to up its spending on virtual crash test computing power by about 50 percent in 2014. Investment in this technology will allow Ford to conduct virtual tests faster than before - some of them can take up to one day to run, currently - while also collect more data. Decision came after there has been an obvious increase in demand for virtual crash test data.
Investment in the area has already taken the number of tests the company can conduct up by about ten times. Safety teams can now run full-vehicle crash simulations with up to 2 million elements, up from half a million just five years ago. The use of advanced computer crash test models will allow the carmaker’s safety teams to evaluate and verify a variety of designs faster.
Ford recently performed its 20,000th full-vehicle crash test. "Today’s vehicles come in a greater variety of body styles, and have more technology and driver-assist features – and many countries have unique regulations," said Steve Kenner, global director, Ford automotive safety office. "We are able to manage this workload efficiently thanks to our significant investment in technology and the hard work of our teams."
Over 500 engineers from around the world run thousands of computer simulations before the physical tests - frontal impact, side impact, rear impact, roof strength and safety system checks - are conducted.
Ford's crash barrier facility can be adapted to perform a wide variety of vehicle crash tests where restraints and airbag systems are evaluated. Tests are performed at speeds ranging from less than 20mph (32kph) to more than 55mph (88kph), after which, safety engineers can provide a wide range of crash data in under 30 minutes.