08-02-2017, 07:31 AM #1
Do Weight Losses Make Today’s Cars Less Safe?
In a crash test involving a tiny Smart and a big Mercedes-Benz, both held their own!
The auto industry has put its vehicles on weight-loss diets to meet federal fuel-economy targets. But does that mean lighter models will fare poorly in crashes with heavyweights?
At the Center for Automotive Research’s 2017 Management Briefing Seminars here, CAR CEO Jay Baron asks Florian Schek, BMW’s head of lightweight design and vehicle weight, if lightweight cars are as safe as heftier models, particularly older ones.
Schek responds: “It has nothing to do with weight in the end. Both must meet crash requirements.”
Mass factors in at some point. For example, in a crash involving a heavy-duty truck and a minicar, the truck will fare better.
But Schek cites a crash test involving a tiny Smart car and a Mercedes-Benz S-Class fullsize sedan. The Smart came out of it relatively well. Despite its diminutive appearance, it has strong structural integrity.
In such a crash involving different-size vehicles, “both have their chances,” Schek says.
Baron agrees the crashworthiness of today’s lighter vehicles is impressive. “I’d take a lightweight car today rather than a heavyweight car of 20 years ago,” he says.
Expect tomorrow’s vehicles to lose weight as automakers go from building cars to protect occupants in accidents to building autonomous vehicles that are designed to avoid accidents altogether, says Michael Robinet, managing director-automotive advisory services for IHS Automotive.
Half the mass of today’s cars is safety-related, he says. That ranges from reinforced steel to assorted high-tech collision-avoidance equipment.
“You can reduce that weight if vehicles are not going to crash into each other,” Robinet says of the impending world of self-driving vehicles.
Source: Do Weight Losses Make Today?s Cars Less Safe? | 2017 Car Management Briefing Seminars content from WardsAuto
08-04-2017, 02:43 PM #2
The only reason i have a Smart, is the fact of the very strong structural strength of the tridion.
Plus the car has multiple airbags, and has a host of electronics to control braking, like ABS that rappidly puts brakes off and on, and anti-skid control where it controls braking diagonally. It is that sensitive a puddle will operate it.
Mind you in the wet, I still never trust a Fortwo on a roundabout and go very slowly round it, as have heard cases of roundabout spin out.
Also wind is a problem on a Fortwo, just by its lightness and high sides, so again always take care when it is windy.
As for the guys comment about self driving cars, well that is just a can of worms, as sensors can fail and kill you, re: lexus driver case. I could never trust a self driving car, knowing that failure of components happen in cars all the time, and it needs a human to realise that and come to a stop, before the car kills you. Another example that a self driving car is dangerous, as in our part of the country, fast moving deer cross the road all the time, and as a human, I can see it cutting across the field and work out when it is going to reach the road and take appropiate action, An automated car would not 'see' the deer till too late, and a collision would occur. God help us all if this is the future.
Last edited by Col Bolla; 08-04-2017 at 02:45 PM.
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