At Audi, safety and quality are not mere attributes – they are the mandate. In its uncompromising quest for making the safest cars in the world, Audi has continually employed a plethora of testing methods to ensure the highest standards of safety. The practice first came along over 75 years ago when engineers at DKW rolled a subcompact F7 down a hill and caused a controlled rollover. Since then, Audi, formerly a part of DKW, has tirelessly endeavoured and succeeded in establishing new standards in the safety department. Audi inaugurated its first crash testing hall at its Ingolstadt facility in 1970, where it eventually used camera-based technology to gauge and survey cars’ imperfections and weak spots.
Some time during the mid 90s, Audi began to include data from actual accidents in its crash research under laboratory conditions. In 1998, as a part of its development-related efforts, Audi established the Audi Accident Research Unit – a separate department for accident research. This department works jointly with doctors at the University of Regensburg to examine data from accidents and ascertain potential areas of improvement for Audi’s cars.
While Audi’s crash research paved the way for several relevant novelties, one of the most notable ones was the ‘Procon-ten’ system. Short for programmed contraction and tension, this proprietary innovation, launched in 1986, remarkably minimized the driver’s risk of head injury in the event of a frontal collision. The system achieved this by pulling back the steering wheel and tensioning the front seatbelts via the displacement of the engine toward the passenger compartment by means of a system of steel cables and deflection pulleys. It has come a long way since then; the number of Audi car models has grown, body structures have become progressively complicated. This progress in turn has made accident simulations a critical constituent in the development of cars.
The technology currently available at the disposal of the world affords the scope of simulating practically each and every type of accident. Be it frontal or side-impact crashes or pedestrian accidents, all types of collisions can be recreated in a controlled environment in order to allows experts to study them. Audi employs over 200 specialists who execute nearly 20,000 crash simulations every month in an endeavour to aid improvement and optimization for its cars. Some times these tests are performed about two years before even the first prototypes of the concerned model are built.
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