Cooley On Cars
Car Tech 101: What is virtual crash testing?Brian Cooley takes a look at how CAD -- computer-aided design -- is changing how automotive crash testing will be performed in the future.
[MUSIC] [SOUND] It's part of the automotive landscape. New cars Crashed intentionally with great precision and measurement to determine how they'll behave when you do the same thing to them with far less precision and intention. But the setup is exacting and tedious. A given car can only be crashed once. And there isn't time to crash every model of every year of every make of car. Enter virtual crash testing which stands to perhaps revolutionize this spectacle of auto crash worthiness. Cars and their parts are all designed on computers these days via CAD, computer-aided design. The design is just a file of data. That same data, which exists about every part, every panel, every rivet, ****, and well, and even the amount of gas in the tank. Along with any crash you can imagine can be fed into a computer. A serious computer running ten thousand cores across 200 or so CPUs and GPUs. Turn off the lights. Come back in 10 or 20 hours. And see the crash that never happen. It's amazing to look at the realism. But more important, are these three gains. It's repeatable. No cars were harm in this collision. That means you can run it over and over with the cost and setup time of real test removed. It's peelable. You can peel back or making visible any portions of the car to see how it given sub assembly performs in real time. Can't do that with a real crash test. [MUSIC] And it's variable. Find the weakness, redesign that area via CAD, upload the new design data, run the crash again, see if it's now fixed. No need to retool and create a new part for another crash test. [MUSIC] So why are we still crashing cars for real? Well virtual crash tests aren't complete they're about 90 plus percent accurate and data full. A gap that should be closable. Risk does move slowly. Car makers, insurers, and regulators aren't the type to jump over night to a new method where our lives are involved. It still takes too long about half a day to a day of data processing per crash test needs to come down. And widespread adoption is needed. Not every car maker uses this technology, nor are they using a standardized version of it. Nonetheless, virtual crash testing looks like it may do to the world of crash-worthiness what the computer did to photography. More car tech demystified, right here now at CNETOnCar.com. Click on CAR TECH 101. [MUSIC]