The new 2012 Ford Focus was subjected to over 12,000 crash tests in real and virtual worlds by Ford safety engineers in the U.S. and Germany. The company sought to prove how effective these innovative new technologies were in protecting occupants during crashes. The new Focus is scheduled to debut globally early next year.
It underwent an exhaustive testing regimen of occupant and full-vehicle computer simulations, which are so realistic that the number of physical vehicle crash tests has been considerably reduced.
Matt Niesluchowski, Focus safety manager, said that the Focus has improved its crash performance and now meets the global safety standards.
He added that Ford’s safety team has an advantage in working together around the world before everyone else. This helped enormously in making sure that the new Focus meets or goes beyond global safety regulations.
Engineers were able to test hundreds of designs due to the thousands of computer aided engineering (CAE) crashes and simulations available to them.
After a battery of virtual simulations, the car would go through physical crash tests to verify and validate the computer simulations to guarantee that every internal and external requirement is met.
Niesluchowski said that the company is making use of more computer simulations than ever to optimize the designs of all the safety components. He said however that physical testing is still required to validate the simulation results due to the complexity of crash tests.