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Mercedes develops world-first X-ray crash test

Mercedes-Benz has performed a world’s first X-ray crash test, a new technological advancement leading the way for further development in automotive crash safety technology.

A crash barrier collided with the Mercedes-Benz C-Class saloon vehicle at 60km/h, at the test undertaken at their headquarters in Stuttgart, Germany on March 13.

A linear accelerator served as an X-ray camera to test the damage caused in the crash.

Mercedes-Benz AG vehicle safety director Paul Dick said the world’s first X-ray crash shows that X-ray technology can provide revealing new insights.

“We learn what happens inside a vehicle and to the dummies during an accident. The X-ray images also offer the opportunity to further improve the model quality of the digital prototypes,” he said.


Together with the Fraunhofer-Institute for High-Speed Dynamics, the EMI (Ernst Mach Institute) in Freiburg, Mercedes-Benz has now carried out the world’s first X-ray crash with a real car. On board was one SID II dummy on the left-hand side facing the impact. This is a test specimen with a female anatomy, specially designed for side impact tests.

Mercedes-Benz Group AG chief technology officer and board of management member Markus Schäfer said “The Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash sets a milestone in the development tools of the future. With a direct view into the hidden interior, it can help to draw important conclusions for the further improvement of vehicle safety. Mercedes-Benz thus confirms its role as a safety pioneer in automotive engineering.”

According to Mercedes-Benz, this technology demonstration (proof of concept) at the EMI research crash facility in Freiburg has shown that high-speed X-ray technology can be used to visualise highly dynamic internal deformation processes. Previously invisible deformations and their exact processes thus become transparent. The numerous, high-resolution images allow precise analysis.

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