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Thursday, November 21, 2013

Side Airbags in Passenger Vehicles and Seat Belts in Buses

As the Managing Director of APV Engineering and Testing Services, I am perhaps given a unique insight into the issues relating to vehicle and occupant safety. I would like to take this opportunity to share with you two very important features that we all should look for regarding safety. The first being the fitment of Side Airbags to passenger vehicles, and secondly the need for wearing and having seat belts fitted to buses.

Side Airbag Performance

Did you ever wonder how important an Airbag is for saving lives? Well the latest Australian Built Holden Commodore, tested in our lab in Melbourne shows you just how quickly the airbag deploys to save your life in a 65 kph traditional T bone crash scenario, where a vehicle runs into the driver or passenger side of a car at 90 degrees.

Of course the VF Commodore is not alone in using state of the art airbag technologies to improve occupant safety, but the following video certainly demonstrates their importance in vehicle safety.

By the use of state-of-the-art and highly advanced technology, and as if by magic, the Side Airbag in the VF Commodore deploys before the occupant, in this case an APV Side Impact Dummy, even feels the impact. It is truly an impressive result and here you can see in milli second increments just how important Side Airbags are for your safety.

My family live on a country property and over the years we have travelled many country miles. One word of advise I have always given my children, is about the risk of hitting trees on country roads, especially on corners - side airbags in vehicles are certainly just as important in these crash scenarios as well.

Wearing and Fitment of Seat Belts in Buses

Recently I returned from a short break at Kakado running around in a tourist bus at 90 kph without seat belts. I felt a little uncomfortable in fact that I wasn't given the choice of wearing a seatbelt in a bus doing this speed when I wear one every day in a car.

Then during September 2013, All Terrain Warriors who design and build specialist tourist buses for outback Australia asked the APV Test Centre to test their latest design of a tourist bus that has been especially designed for seats with seatbelts for vehicles venturing off the bitumen and onto remote gravel and off-road driving conditions in the Australian outback.

The following video, shows just how well the bus body structure performs. What you will see is the All Terrain Warriors bus cabin being tested to an AS68/00 bus test. Here, their Bus Cabin, fully fitted with seats, is attached to our test rig with full instrumentation and cameras, recording a simulated crash scenario. In real life the Bus Cabin, would be fitted to a light truck chassis for use in outback Australia - a harsh and often unpredictable environment.

At just 50 kph the crash simulation shows that all occupants wearing seatbelts are held safely in place. The seats remain intact and anchored safely in place to the bus structure - keeping its buckled up occupants safely restrained during the accident.

Of course not the same can be said for those Crash Dummies that failed to buckle up before taking their bus ride. You may notice that the seats, in front of these dummies, have to not only keep their belted occupants safe, but also take a brutal hit from the unrestrained Crash Dummies from behind, leaving the seats slightly deformed and pushed forward.

Again, this video shows you first hand - the importance of buckling up in any passenger vehicle. On a personal note, I would like to congratulate an Australian Company, All Terrain Warriors, in taking the initiative to design and build a safer Off Road Tourist Bus Cabin.

So be the judge yourself. I hope you have found the videos informative and I believe they translate into a very visual demonstration of the importance of wearing seatbelts, having buses fitted with seat belts and passenger vehicles fitted with side airbags.

So Buckle Up and Drive Safely.

Harry Hickling
Managing Director
Australian Performance Vehicles Pty Ltd

Disclaimer: "This news piece is not serving as a product endorsement by APV. It is being shared in our news section purely to highlight the importance of Side Airbags and the wearing and fitment of Seatbelts in Buses. All views and opinions expressed are by Harry Hickling".

Thursday, May 23, 2013

The all new Commodore VF proves its world class safety at the APV Crash Facility

Proving that Australian – designed and manufactured vehicles can deliver world class safety, the Holden VF Commodore was awarded 5 stars by the Australian New Car Assessment Program (ANCAP) following tests conducted at the APV Technical Centre Crash Test Facility. The official ANCAP 5 star rating, which includes results from the Frontal Impact test, was released yesterday. 

APV Performed the Side and Pole Side Impact tests in April at the request of ANCAP. The side impact test simulates a classic ‘T-bone’ crash, where a vehicle is struck by another vehicle travelling at 50km/h at right angles to it. This type of impact occurs at intersections when one vehicle fails to stop at a red light or fails to give way. The Pole impact test simulates the vehicle impacting a rigid pole at 29km/h. Such an impact would occur when a vehicle looses traction on the side of the road and slides sideways into an object such as a telephone pole or a tree 

Experts at the APV Tech Centre performing the tests were impressed with the Commodore’s side impact performance, with the vehicle scoring full marks in both tests. The vehicle’s structure and airbags all performed well. The APV Test Operations Manager, Tony Forster, has commended Holden’s exemplary result, stating that ‘I congratulate Holden’s Australian Safety team on achieving a world class 5 star result’.  

Over the months leading up to the ANCAP crash tests, the APV Component Test Laboratory has worked closely with the Holden restraint system engineers. The APV Laboratory provided deployment testing and environmental conditioning along with high speed imaging support for the development of the VF side and passenger airbag as well as the inflatable curtain. 

The new Commodore scored 35.06 points out of 37, scoring maximum points in all but the frontal offset crash test component where it managed 14.06 out of 16. The five-star rating will apply to all Holden VF Commodore sedan, wagon and ute variants, as well as the new Holden WN Caprice.