IIHS dedicates expanded testing facility to focus on crash avoidance
The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety began a new chapter on September 11, 2015, opening an expanded testing facility that will enable it to evaluate the latest crash avoidance technologies year-round.
The $30 million expansion of the Vehicle Research Center was made possible through the support of IIHS member companies. The centerpiece is a 5-acre covered track, one of the largest fabric-covered structures in the United States, which will allow testing to continue rain or shine. Six fabric panels supported by steel trusses arc over the 700-foot-by-300-foot track and are supported by 18 concrete piers, which weigh a total of 7,000 tons and contain more than 39 miles of steel reinforcement bars.
An existing outdoor track was expanded, bringing the total area of track, including the covered section, to 15 acres. A new office and conference space was also part of the project.
“Now we’re entering an exciting new phase focused on technology that can prevent crashes from occurring in the first place,” IIHS President Adrian Lund says. “With the expanded facility, IIHS can more quickly evaluate new features that promise to move us closer to the goal of zero crash deaths and injuries.”
IIHS already rates front crash prevention systems. Recently, researchers at the VRC have been looking at how well those systems can identify pedestrians. Ratings of headlight systems, including those that swivel in response to steering, also are on the horizon. The Institute has developed robotic equipment to help simulate real-life potential crashes without human drivers for safe and accurate testing.
On September 11, 2015, the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety dedicated its newly expanded Vehicle Research Center. To commemorate this event, IIHS produced a video that begins with some imaginative thoughts from children about the future of cars.
Some of the kids we interviewed are big fans of IIHS and know an awful lot about our work. Here are some more thoughts from the drivers of the future about vehicles and highway safety.