Audi has opened its new Vehicle Safety Center at its technology park in Ingolstadt, Germany. The facility will allow the automaker to perform numerous types of crash tests before it launches a new model.
The facility, which took three years to build, cost about 100 million euros ($107 million at today’s exchange rate), and approximately 100 employees work there. Audi designed the facility with the future in mind, ensuring the center can perform tests that go beyond today’s crash standards the company must meet in various markets.
The building will also allow Audi to conduct a great number and variety of crash tests compared to its previous facility. The new building has a large, integrated, support-free crash test floor with state-of-the-art high-speed cameras and LED lighting.
The test arena features several crisscrossing crash lanes, allowing Audi to perform 90-degree crashes between two vehicles. It also allows the company to crash cars sideways against obstacles. The building also houses a dummy lab, component test stands, offices, and workshops.
Audi will use more than 60 THOR crash test dummies in its evaluations, which range in size from an 18-month-old child to a 225-pound adult. The dummies have up to 150 sensors and are just one piece of a bigger data puzzle. Three-dimensional scans help process post-test deformations in the vehicles, while motion tracking helps capture the sequence of events.
Computer simulations play a large role in crash tests, with Audi performing tens of thousands of virtual crashes before it even builds a prototype. The company’s IT Center, located in the same technology park, assists with these tests.
Audi’s focus on safety dates back more than 80 years. The company opened its first crash hall in Ingolstadt in 1970, which it used for the next 50 years. In 1972, Audi introduced crash test dummies to the facility. The company’s effort to make safer vehicles has earned it top safety ratings from around the world.
Audi’s endeavors to make safe cars are paying off in the US. This year, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has awarded seven Audi models with its Top Safety Pick Award. Five have earned the Top Safety Pick+ designation, like the 2023 Audi A5. A National Highway Traffic Safety Administration video showed how the Audi Q8 earned its five-star side-impact safety rating.