Mercedes-Benz trials x-ray technology in crash test.

Game-changing safety tests at Mercedes-Benz

Crash test with X-ray glasses.

X-ray examinations have the advantage that they are convenient, fast, and painless. If you want to know whether everything is all right within a human body, you rely on a discovery made around 120 years ago by Wilhelm Conrad Röntgen. Increasingly, the technology is being used in industries as well – for instance, in the vehicle safety unit of Mercedes-Benz.

In cooperation with the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst Mach Institute (EMI) in Freiburg, Daimler’s vehicle safety unit is, for the first time, testing the use of X-ray technology with crash tests at the "i-protect" tech center.

Ultrafast X-ray technology produces extremely high-resolution stills of specific areas of the vehicle body and the interior of the automobile during a crash test. This method enables users to investigate the behavior of safety-related components by taking a look inside the parts. Additionally, the images from the “X-ray crashes” can be combined with computer-aided simulation models to improve the predictions made by crash simulations.

Interdisciplinary research cooperation

The "i-protect" tech center was established in 2016 by Mercedes-Benz AG and others. It is a collaborative platform to create sustainable solutions for ensuring the integral safety of tomorrow’s mobility. The partners are Robert Bosch GmbH, Stuttgart University, the Fraunhofer Institute for Mechanics of Materials (IWM) and the Fraunhofer Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, Ernst Mach Institute (EMI), Freiburg, the Technical University of Dresden, the Technical University of Graz, and Stuttgart Clinic.

Interior observation on a new level

In addition to analyzing the deformation of vehicle bodies and components, the experts at the "i-protect" tech center are investigating alternative passenger restraint concepts. Interdisciplinary teams work on approaching the challenges of future driving, such as highly automated driving: Scientists and experts from industry are working together to find out which new approaches to examining vehicle interiors and classifying occupants can make significant contributions to improving passive safety.

Dummy laboratory: The approx. 120 test dummies are prepared for tests in the precisely temperature-controlled workshop.

An example: Where computer-aided engineering (CAE) used to be used to simulate the traditional crash dummies, it has been replaced by the digital human body model. Rather than digitally simulating the mechanics of the crash test dummies, the digital human body model simulates the actual human body — even including the movements of its muscles. As a result, it can be used to investigate effects that can’t be measured with the hardware of a crash test dummy. This is precisely what is needed to promote innovation in the area of safety.