Once everything has been measured and the 100 kg, 1.88 m tall crash-test dummies and their diversely dimensioned family members have been correctly positioned and safely secured with their seat belts, the crash-test vehicle can start its ultimate journey.

Facts and figures about the technology centre for vehicle safety.

Mercedes-Benz is opening the world's most sophisticated crash test centre with the technology centre for vehicle safety (TFS) in Sindelfingen. The new building with its numerous test facilities opens up completely new possibilities, e.g. for vehicle-to-vehicle tests, the configuration of assistance systems and PRE-SAFE®, and for the verification of vehicle concepts using alternative drive systems. A few facts and figures about the crash test centre:

The building in the Mercedes Technology Center in Sindelfingen measures 170 m x 279 m x 23 m, with an investment of approx. € 200 million.
  • Possible crash configurations:
    There are around 70 different configurations for cars and trucks, incl. frontal crash (with varying degrees of overlap), rear impact, side impact with movable barriers and lateral post impact, rollover test and vehicle-to-vehicle crash.
  • Documentation:
    The crashs are documented by using high-speed cameras (up to 1000 images per second), also from below (glass-covered filming pits).
  • The side markings along the crash tracks, which look like a QR code, are there to provide orientation to a drone:
    The drone flies along the track before a crash to make sure that there are no longer any personnel there.
  • Each of the five large cross-members in the unsupported area of the crash hall weighs around 210 tonnes:
    They allow an obstacle-free area of 90 m x 90 m.
  • The temperature on the day had to be taken into account when installing these steel cross-members:
    This was very important owing to thermal expansion of the steel.
  • The pits at the collision points of the crash tracks have a depth of five metres:
    They house modern high-speed cameras which film the impact from below. Thanks to the compact Microtrack system, the guide rails for the vehicles are much narrower than before (70 mm rather than 180 mm in the old system). This means that unlike before, almost the entire underbody of the vehicle can be filmed.
  • The glass panels covering the pits are eleven centimetres thick:
    They can withstand the weight of trucks, which can now be tested in an enclosed hall for the first time.
  • "Ants" are an important working aid in the TFS:
    The three-wheeled electric scooters with which personnel in the crash centre can cover the long distances are known as "Ants". They are capable of up to 22 km/h. An additional luggage carrier allows items weighing up to 50 kg to be carried as well.
  • Reinforced bodyshells can be reused several times for sled tests:
    In this crash simulation a test sled is accelerated and braked. A test object (vehicle bodyshell or assembly) is mounted on the sled and subjected to the forces arising during a real vehicle crash. These sled tests allow non-destructive testing of individual components, especially restraint systems.
  • At least one of these test bodyshells for each Mercedes-Benz model series is kept in stock in the high-bay warehouse:
    Before every test, the bodyshells are equipped with the interior features to be tested in the workshops located directly below.
  • The crash tracks have to be precisely level:
    Level crash track surfaces (maximum tolerance 5 mm per 100 m) are important for crash tests with mobile barriers, where lateral impacts are simulated, for example. Apart from their pneumatic tyres, these barriers have no suspension system and might begin to oscillate on a less than completely level surface, falsifying the crash test result. To ensure a completely level surface, the floor slab rests on approx. 500 concrete pillars driven 18 m into the ground.
  • 7000 tonnes of steel were installed in the TFS:
    The amount of concrete used for the construction is equally impressive: if lined up, all the trucks loaded with concrete for construction of the TFS would form a queue with a length of 40 km.
  • Two of the five crash blocks have differently configured barriers on each of their four sides:
    This means that different crash tests can be configured merely by rotating the block.
  • Before the crash, the vehicles are accelerated to test speed within just a few seconds:
    This is done using steel cables driven by powerful electric motors.
  • Sled tests are filmed by two camera sleds moving in parallel:
    Mercedes-Benz personnel developed this tandem sled procedure for filming sled tests themselves. Previously the camera was mounted on a boom which had to be accelerated and braked along with the sled, reducing the payload of the test sled. In the new system, a tandem sled fitted with cameras on each side moves in parallel with the test sled during the test. The tandem sleds are powered by linear electric motors.
  • After the crash test and following a fixed procedure, the vehicles are rotated by 360° along their longitudinal axis by a turning mechanism:
    This is to check the leak tightness of the fuel tank.
  • Major test facilities:
    The major test facilitites are the interior crash hall with angled tracks and PRE-SAFE® area, the four crash tracks, the sled test area, the gradient/rollover ramp for rollover tests and test stand for head impact tests.
  • Special features:
    Now crash tests are possible in which the vehicles drive to the obstacle under their own power (also electric and fuel cell vehicles), simulation of real accidents including emergency braking, one rotating and one freely movable crash block plus three stationary blocks, hovercraft for smooth transport of vehicle bodies for sled tests, use of drones for safety monitoring in the crash hall, integrated store for dummies and sled bodyshells, highly precise, automated measuring systems (incl. coordinate measuring system and surface scan).