Ford Motor Company has ushered in new, extreme tests — such as ramming shopping carts into car doors and blasting water cannons to force vehicles into skids — to fine tune new safety technologies.
“These novel tests 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.
“We will continue to build on our safety leadership with advanced safety technologies that help enhance crash protection or even help customers avoid accidents.”
Ford engineers conduct unusual “crash” tests to take thousands of impact readings that help calibrate the sensitivity of new air bag pressure sensors being introduced on the new 2009 F-150 and 2010 Taurus.
Engineers, however, were concerned that everyday mishaps — such as shopping cart collisions in parking lots or errant basketballs from children — could trick the new sensors that now help predict crash forces before the full impact occurs. The engineers used reams of data from these unusual tests to calibrate the air bag sensor to disregard typically minor collisions.