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AB Dynamics and NASCAR have partnered to perform crash-test of NASCAR’s Next Gen race car using AB Dynamics’ robots. The car was equipped with steering, shifting and pedal (throttle, brake and clutch) robots, as well as sensors and a crash test dummy.
The plan for the test crash was to send the race car into a Steel and Foam Energy Reduction (SAFER) barrier at 130 mph. The car needed to hit the barrier precisely at an angle of 24 degrees.
“The challenge was trying to get this extremely complex machine to do a very precise test without a human driver piloting the car,” Craig Hoyt, AB Dynamics Business Development Manager, said. “AB Dynamics robots allowed NASCAR to use a fully running race car and conduct the test at a real race track at real race speeds. There is no better data than replicating crash tests in a real environment and our robots enable us to do that accurately and repeatedly.”
NASCAR used AB Dynamics’ SR60 for steering, CBAR600 for pedals and its Gearshift Robot to drive the car. The company’s path following software ensured the robot was able to steer the car into the SAFER barrier at exactly 130.015 mph and within one degree of the determined angle. The vehicle hit the barrier within 2 cm of the desired impact point.
“This is a truly innovative way to test the safety of vehicles in motorsport. The data we obtained from the test was extremely important and was not possible to get from any crash test facilities at the time,” John Patalak, the managing director of safety engineering at NASCAR, said. “The test provided valuable information for correlation with our computer crash simulations and confirmed that the predicted vehicle impact performance from the simulation was duplicated in this real-world crash test.”
AB Dynamics was founded in 1982 as a vehicle engineering consultancy. The company offers automotive test systems for a variety of applications, including highly-efficient durability testing to precision control for new areas of technology development.