Volvo is ensuring its cars are prepared for all crash conditions by dropping its vehicles 30 metres from a crane, in an effort to prepare them for extreme collisions.
The scenario was used to simulate the results of extreme crashes – such as high-speed, single-vehicle collisions or truck and passenger vehicle collisions – in order to both improve in-car safety systems and help provide training for rescue crews.
Ten cars in total, including an XC40 and V60, were dropped from a crane multiple times, with safety engineers calculating how much pressure and force would be required to elicit the required level of damage.
“Normally we only crash cars in the laboratory, but this was the first time we dropped them from a crane,” Håkan Gustafson, senior investigator with the Volvo Cars Traffic Accident Research Team, said.
“We knew we would see extreme deformations after the test, and we did this to give the rescue team a real challenge to work with.”
Volvo plans to publish its findings in a research report to be made available for free to rescue workers to assist them in extracting victims from extreme crashes.
Volvo has worked with Swedish rescue services for several years, with rescue workers often sourcing their training vehicles from the company's scrap yards – however these are usually older cars lacking in modern safety technologies.
Typically, rescue crews have an hour or less to extract victims from a car and safely get them to a hospital after an accident.
The Swedish-born car maker, which is now owned by Chinese multinational Geely, has long prided itself on its safety record, having invented the modern three-point seatbelt as we know it in 1959.
More recently, Volvo made the decision to electronically limit the top speed of all its new cars to 180km/h as part of its goal to achieve zero fatalities and serious injuries in Volvo cars globally.
Despite an impressive safety record, the car maker had to recall 2500 cars in Australia in November 2020 after a faulty airbag (not related to the ongoing Takata airbag crisis) caused a death in the United States.
In Australia, Volvo has earned five-star ANCAP ratings across all of its vehicle offerings.