The 75-year-old tradition of safety at Audi started when engineers from DKW, one of the four brands that gave rise to Audi, caused a controlled rollover with a subcompact F7. Thus in 1938, Auto Union AG, the union of Audi, DKW, Horch, and Wanderer, became one of the first manufacturers in the industry to administer systematic rollover and crash tests. To determine and examine the unique rollover bearings of each body type, the company tested various DKW models with sheet-metal, wooden, and plastic body shells. Since the crash test at DKW, the company has consistently paved the way to enhanced safety by the means of new and innovative safety features.
In 1970, Audi inaugurated the first crash testing hall at Ingolstadt as an endeavour to make crash test results more replicable. The facility is still in use though it has been adapted and revamped several times since then. As measurements steadily became more precise, Audi employed them in combination with camera technology to enable improved crash research and better inspection of a vehicle’s shortcomings. The ‘Procon-ten’ system (short for programmed contraction and tension) was one of Audi’s patented innovations from this period. During a frontal collision, the ‘Procon-ten’ system allowed the steering wheel to be pulled back and the front seatbelts to be tensioned via displacement of the engine toward the passenger compartment which was enabled by a system of steel cables and deflection pulleys. The system, put in place in 1986, notably reduced the driver’s risk of head injury. It was discontinued after airbags were introduced in all models.
Today practically all varieties of accidents can be simulated – from pedestrian accidents to frontal and side-impact collisions. Over 200 specialists at Audi work exclusively on these themes, performing nearly 20,000 crash simulations every month often about two years before even the first prototypes are made.
Other than simulating collisions, Audi’s crash research also began to include data from real-world accidents from the mid-1990s. The company established AARU (Audi Accident Research Unit), a separate department for accident research, in 1998. The AARU collaborates with doctors at the University of Regensburg to analyse data collected from accidents and determine the possibilities for optimization in new models. And as the number of body structures and their complexity grow, crash research and simulations are of the utmost importance for model development.
Long story short, there is no doubt that Audi car models are among the safest in the world. The company offers an exhaustive collection of active and passive safety features in all its models on offer in India too. The Audi A4, for example, is available with adaptive front-end collision protection, seat position recognition and a total of eight airbags including full-size airbags for driver and front passenger; side airbags at front; a head airbag system and rear side airbags. Be it a brand new or a pre-owned car, these provisions stand the test of time while continually ensuring the safety of the occupants and the vehicle. Audi’s promise of safety together with Audi Approved’s stringent quality standards enables the assurance that a pre-owned Audi is also as safe any other model.