A technological breakthrough in automotive safety research! Mercedes-Benz, in collaboration with the Fraunhofer-Institute for High-Speed Dynamics (EMI), has achieved a world-first: an X-ray crash test using a real car.

This innovative technique provides an unprecedented view of the internal deformation processes during a crash, offering valuable insights for future vehicle safety improvements.

Imagine a crash test where you can see beyond the crumpled metal. That’s precisely what the X-ray crash test offers. Using a powerful linear accelerator as an X-ray camera, researchers were able to capture up to 1,000 high-resolution images per second during the side-impact test on an orange C-Class saloon.

Benefits of X-Ray Crash Testing:

  • Previously invisible deformations and their exact processes become transparent, allowing for more precise analysis.
  • Detailed observation of how safety-relevant components and dummies behave during a crash.
  • Improved model quality of digital prototypes based on the X-ray data.

Quotes from Key Figures:

  • Markus Schäfer, Member of the Board of Management of Mercedes-Benz Group AG: “The Mercedes-Benz X-ray crash sets a milestone in the development tools of the future… It can help to draw important conclusions for the further improvement of vehicle safety.”
  • Dr. Malte Kurfiß, Head of Crash Test Centre, Fraunhofer EMI: “The successful X-ray crash provides us with valuable insights to further optimize our technology for capturing previously inaccessible information.”
  • Prof. Dr Paul Dick, Director of Vehicle Safety, Mercedes-Benz AG: “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.”

Technical Aspects of the X-Ray Crash Test:

  • The key to this breakthrough is the use of a linear accelerator with 1 kHz technology, generating much more powerful X-ray flashes than previously used.
  • The X-ray pulses are short enough (a few microseconds) to capture deformation processes without motion blur.
  • The system can produce up to 1,000 images per second, offering a significantly higher resolution compared to conventional X-ray procedures.

The X-ray crash test represents another step forward in Mercedes-Benz’s dedication to “Real Life Safety” philosophy. This philosophy, established in 1959 with the first Mercedes-Benz crash test, emphasizes using real-world scenarios and dummies to study crash behavior and improve occupant protection.

Mercedes-Benz’s commitment to safety extends beyond combustion engines. In autumn 2023, the company conducted the world’s first public crash test involving two fully electric vehicles (EQA and EQS SUV) at 56 km/h. The test confirmed the effectiveness of safety features in electric vehicles, with both passenger cells and high-voltage batteries remaining intact.

This groundbreaking X-ray crash test paves the way for even more advanced safety research in the automotive industry. By visualizing the previously unseen, Mercedes-Benz and its partners are helping to create a future of safer cars for everyone.

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