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IIHS opens US$30m crash-focused research facility

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has opened an expanded test facility that will enable it to evaluate the latest crash avoidance technologies year-round.

IIHS already rates front crash prevention systems. Recently, researchers at the VRC have been looking at how well those systems can identify pedestrians. Ratings of headlight systems, including those that swivel in response to steering, also are on the horizon. The Institute has developed robotic equipment to help simulate real-life potential crashes for safe and accurate testing.

The US$30m expansion of the Vehicle Research Center was made possible through the support of IIHS member companies. The centerpiece is a 5-acre covered track, one of the largest fabric-covered structures in North America, which will enable testing to continue in all weathers. Six fabric panels supported by steel trusses arc over the 700 x 300ft track and are supported by 18 concrete piers, which weigh a total of 7,000 tons and contain more than 39 miles of steel reinforcement bars.

An existing outdoor track was expanded, bringing the total area of track, including the covered section, to 15 acres. A new office and conference space was also part of the project.

"Now we're entering an exciting new phase focused on technology that can prevent crashes from occurring in the first place," said IIHS president, Adrian Lund. "With the expanded facility, IIHS can more quickly evaluate new features that promise to move us closer to the goal of zero crash deaths and injuries."

September 24, 2015


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