Crashing a CR-V into the Jazz shows that size doesn’t really matter when it comes to safety
All eyes are gazing at the centre of what looks like a large arena. There is absolute silence as everyone watches intently. Out comes a Honda CR-V and a Honda Jazz from either side of this huge facility, hurtling towards each other at a steady 50 km/hr. There is a loud boom as they crash into each other, head on. One can actually hear the glass shattering and metal crashing into metal. That’s all, it’s over in a flash and both cars are at rest. This is pretty much a daily routine at Honda’s state of the art indoor crash test facility in Tochigi, Japan and we were there to witness a crash test as it happens and it was some experience.
Honda’s philosophy is to provide quality mobility solutions which co-exist in a collision free society so that everyone can enjoy the freedom of mobility. With increased number of vehicles on the road, accidents are common and the company aims to reduce fatalities by researching and making cars which offer greater safety, not only to passengers but also to pedestrians. Accident analysis is done by studying the commonly occurring scenarios. This study is used to re-construct the accident in a controlled environment which is used to develop technologies which improve chances of survival in case of collisions. All this research and analysis has helped Honda develop the ACE Body Structure (Advanced Compatibility Engineering). This type of body design has high crash compatibility which in simpler terms means the engine bay is designed to absorb most of the force and gets crushed in stages on impact. The highly rigid structure ensures that the cabin undergoes minimum deformation, enhancing the chances of survival for the occupants.
Honda’s crash test facility can recreate all kinds of weather and scenarios
Back to where it’s all done, this Crash Test facility in Tochigi is one of a kind. It was the world’s first omni-directional indoor crash test facility which allows recreation of all whether conditions and all possible crash scenarios. The head on crash tests can be done with either full overlap, 50% overlap or 10% overlap. There are slow-motion cameras which record as slow as 1000 frames per second from all angles. Honda uses approximately 1000 vehicles each year for these tests. The analysis is studied to improve the safety performance of the cars.
We experienced the crash between a CR-V and Jazz. Both cars crashed while doing 50 km/hr each, resulting in an impact velocity of 100 km/hr. Both these cars are production cars and are randomly picked out from a lot. The test was conducted at a 50% offset. The cars are on ignition mode (to avoid any chances of fire with fuel spillage) and are driven by a motorised units whose speed can be set by the master computer. A buzzer is heard and the test is underway with both cars aiming for each other. There is a big bang and its over faster than we anticipated.