The New Reality of Crash Testing with PRE BRAKE

The interaction between active and passive safety – with PRE BRAKE, MESSRING is launching a new braking system for sled and vehicle tests which allows braking maneuvers to be integrated into the pre-crash phase of crash tests
When it comes to road safety (and in this context, particularly passenger protection), in recent years automotive manufacturers have increasingly focused on the phase before the actual collision. A wide variety of safety and assistance systems have been developed, from autonomous emergency brake assistants to integrated distance control systems to lane departure warning systems and driver drowsiness detection. These systems have an effect on the driver’s behavior and some even autonomously intervene during the pre-crash phase. Restraint systems, like airbags and seat belt pretensioners, are designed to reduce the effects on passengers in the event of a collision. It is indisputable that these active safety systems also have an effect on the in-crash phase and the actual collision, since they change the strength of the forces that act on the vehicle or even the position of the driver and front passenger within the passenger compartment. And yet despite these new developments, conventional crash-test scenarios – aside from the “out-of-position” tests primarily in demand in the United States – still barely reflect this new reality. But this could now change.
MESSRING, the global leader in this segment which has produced far more than one hundred crash and sled test facilities, is working intensively on the development of testing platforms that can simulate the interaction between active and passive safety systems. Its latest result is the PRE BRAKE braking system for sled and vehicle crash tests, which for the first time makes it possible to integrate braking maneuvers into the pre-crash phase of crash tests in a coordinated and repeatable manner. PRE BRAKE has the ability to accurately and realistically recreate controlled braking processes before the actual crash (like the way an emergency braking assistant would carry them out) in different testing scenarios. This is essential for the development of testing procedures for pre-crash tests and to potentially incorporate them into test reports in the near future.
This innovative system consists of a braking sled that is attached behind the sled or vehicle via a connecting rod and is guided in MESSRING’s MicroTrack track system. This configuration ensures that the view of the vehicle from the film pit is not affected. In order to achieve the desired braking effect, symmetrically positioned brake pads are pressed hydraulically against the inner side of the track system. Doing so makes it possible to reduce speed within a 30-meter stretch of track from a maximum of 100 kilometers per hour down to 64 kilometers per hour. At a maximum weight of the sled or vehicle of 5.2 tons, the maximum braking force is equal to 0.8 g, so close to almost fully applying the brake.
The desired braking profile for the respective crash test can be selected via CrashSoft, the software developed by MESSRING for crash test facilities. As a result, the brake is also completely integrated into the general control system. PRE BRAKE only weighs 65 kg, is available immediately, and can easily be added to all crash test facilities that use the MicroTrack track system from MESSRING.
“The new braking system once again makes crash tests much more realistic,” says Dierk Arp, CEO of MESSRING. PRE BRAKE can be used to simulate both the front end of a vehicle dipping when fully applying the brakes as well as the exact sitting position of the passengers that results from massive deceleration. Another aspect important to Mr. Arp: “Being able to simulate the way the active and passive safety systems interact with each other is a basic requirement for being able to integrate autonomous driving into our standardized testing procedure at some point in the future. With PRE BRAKE, we’re taking a major step forward in this area as well.”
Further innovations to improve data quality are already in preparation. For example, MESSRING plans to release an innovative sled system in the near future that can recreate vehicles’ multiaxial movement, which is particularly noticeable in small overlap crash situations. The system offers new opportunities to optimize the geometry, alignment, and release of airbags in complex collision situations.