Volvo's obsession with safety boards on the extreme but it has given birth to a unique piece of testing equipment called the Robocoaster.
During a visit to Legoland with his daughters, Volvo safety expert Anders Axelson noticed a ride called the Robocoaster and was struck by a radical idea to turn the ride into an efficient way to crash test cars. As he explains, “Watching people being thrown in all directions during a ride in the ‘Robocoaster’, I suddenly realized that those rapid, random movements resembled the violent forces occupants in a run-off road crash are exposed to."
After returning to work, Axelson began searching for a similar robot that could be programmed to mimic the exact movements recorded by the company's run-off road crash tests. He eventually found robot manufacturer ABB and they were able to develop a multi-axial industrial robot which can be programmed to simulate the effects an occupant would feel during an off-road crash.
Volvo used information learned from their own Robocoaster to help develop a run-off road protection package that includes a rapid seat belt retraction system as well as an energy-absorbing system in the seats that cushion the vertical forces during a hard landing.