When the General Motors Milford Proving Ground opened in October, 1924 – 90 years ago this month – engineers lacked advanced tools and technology for safety testing. Some might say the only crash test dummies back then were human.
Engineers today keep their distance during crash tests. No more riding the running boards until seconds before impact. Instead, inside the vehicles being tested are heavily instrumented anthropomorphic test devices – dummies – who capture the data for which engineers once risked their lives.
“The technology used today to research vehicles is far superior to the past, but the intention stays the same, put vehicles to the test in the name of safety,” said Jack Jensen, the GM engineering group manager for the dummy lab and a GM Technical Fellow. “We have more sophisticated dummies, computers to monitor crashes, and new facilities to observe different types of potential hazards.
GM has provided customers with many industry-firsts using the Milford Proving Ground to test these developments:
• Patent-pending child restraint seat cushion extension feature: A segment safety first, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon jump seat headrest can be removed from the back of the seat and inserted into the seat base to give a child seat more area to sit on.
• Belt assurance system: This industry-first, which keeps drivers from shifting from “park” if not buckled up, will be launching later this year on a limited group of fleet vehicles.
• Front center air bag: GM was the first manufacturer to introduce the feature in 2013 on all full size crossovers. It will also be on the all-new 2015 full size utilities.
• Rollover test facility: GM was the first North American auto manufacturer to build a rollover test facility. It opened in 2006.
• Test dummies: In the early 1980s, GM’s safety team developed several dummies, including the Hybrid III, which became the universal standard for frontal crash testing and remains so today across the globe.Google+