New Track Allows IIHS to Test Crash Avoidance in New Cars

November 21, 2013

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) is making some changes to the way they test vehicles, thanks to a new test track.

Normally when you think of crash testing, you imagine test dummies being slammed into airbags, while the body of a new car gets destroyed and for the past 20 years that?s just how the IIHS has been doing things. Thanks to new technology in cars, research engineers at the IIHS are testing crash avoidance features.

"Our insurance data is showing that these crash avoidance features, they're actually reducing real world claims to our insurance sponsors," says David Aylor, senior research engineer. ?So we want to research these systems as well as evaluate them so that consumers can see if they are worth purchasing.?

The new facility allows engineers to test crash avoidance features in cars like the ones on the new Subaru Outback, equipped with cameras that will help stop the car from a front collision up to 25 miles per hour

"The vehicle will use cameras or radars to look in front of you and if it sees an imminent crash, it will first warn you as the driver and try to bring you back into the driving situation," says Aylor. "If you as a driver don't respond it will automatically avoid the brakes to avoid the crash all together or at least slow down the crash speed so the damage severity is much less."

After putting those automatic brakes to the test we found that the car stopped nearly a foot away from an object in the roadway of the test track.

Other crash avoidance features include adaptive headlights that adjust as you turn your steering wheel and electronic stability control that keeps the car stable when swerving.

"We need the extra track space," says Aylor. "We didn't have enough track space before to evaluate the systems properly, so the expanded track allows us to do testing on these systems."

The new crash avoidance test track is just one part of the $30 million upgrade coming to the IIHS. There will also be a new 5 acre covered test track and a three story office building.

The IIHS works to let you know what cars are good to purchase and they hope that new additions to their facility will help with both crash and crash avoidance testing.

For a look at what cars received high ratings in the crash avoidance testing, click on the link below.

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