Safety has always been a part of Scania’s DNA. So its new generation of trucks has undergone five years of advanced crash testing, with technologies and equipment never before used for heavy vehicles.
A total of some 40 trucks had to give up their lives during the development phase of the new truck generation. Every single crash test is planned for over a year, takes six to eight weeks to prepare for – and is over in half a second.
To prepare for these brief but important moments, a large number of sensors and other test equipment are rigged in and around the test vehicle and crash test dummy. Because the crash process goes so incredibly fast, dozens of high-speed cameras are used so that the crash can be studied in detail.
“We test the truck’s crash safety in a number of different ways,” said Dan Loftén, who is responsible for all crash tests on Scania’s new trucks. “We drive it into different obstacles: poles, passenger cars, concrete railings and a variety of different barriers. The most advanced and risky crash tests are conducted outdoors with loaded semi trailers driven by a robot. We use this method to conduct things like rollover accidents.”
One of all these tests, with the working title “trailer back,” aims to calibrate the sensor that deploys the truck’s airbags. At a crash facility at Helmond in the Netherlands, Scania’s crash test team is preparing for a collision where one corner of the new truck will be driven straight into a trailer in front of it.
“Driving into a trailer in front of you is one of the most serious accidents that you can encounter as a truck driver,” said Loftén. “With the new generation of trucks, we have made a major investment in improving safety in these types of accidents.”
“For the best results, we work with scenarios that are as much like real-life as possible and with data that’s of an extremely high quality,” Sofia Sandin, the engineer leading one of the crash tests, explained.
Sandin ensures that all the sensors and measuring equipment in and around the truck are working properly ahead of the controlled crash. The data from the test will be used in the calibration of the truck’s safety system. Alongside her in the building is the result of yesterday’s test – a new truck that’s now ready for the scrapyard.