Ford Improves Safety with Powerful Water Cannon... and More
The Dearborn company mentioned in a press release issued yesterday that the new, “extreme tests”, such as ramming shopping carts into car doors and blasting water cannons to force vehicles into skids, are meant to fine tune new, industry-leading safety technologies for its mainstream vehicles.
“Blasting and ramming cars may seem over the top, but they’re part of a serious testing regimen that Ford had to invent, because increasingly sophisticated technologies require more advanced testing,” said Sue Cischke, group vice president, Ford Sustainability, Environment and Safety Engineering.
Here are some of their unusual tests. One of the most exciting has got to be the air-powered water cannon one. A tool commonly used in mining operations, the cannon fixed to the back of a Volvo blasts water outward, causing a recoil impulse that forces the vehicle into a skid. Engineers use the test data in computer simulations to help study how to enhance stability control technology, reducing risks to test drivers and damage to test vehicles.
Another test is aimed at improving airbag technology, which involves a multi-tailed, lead-tipped steel whip that repeatedly hits underbody area where side impact air bag sensors are located. Data collected from such tests is used to refine sensor calibrations as well. Another airbag test involves a lab robot repeatedly pushing a shopping cart loaded with a 110-pound weight into the vehicle doors at 10 miles per hour.