Developing Cars to Meet Evolving Safety Standards

Developing Cars to Meet Evolving Safety Standards

Auto manufacturers are constantly working to update, improve, and innovate car design to meet the needs and demands of consumers. Each iteration of a vehicle must also meet safety standards set by the market the product is sold in.


The process to design and then develop a new vehicle is a well-defined, well-orchestrated process and leverages expertise from many different disciplines. Along the way, there are trade-offs between styling and functionality, cost and timing – all while still developing a design that meets well-established vehicle safety protocols for occupant protection and vehicle crashworthiness.

In recent years, designers have been faced with a dilemma:

Should they, or should they not, develop the vehicle to also meet those vehicle safety proposals being considered for future implementation by regulatory and consumer-focused bodies?

For example, NHTSA Frontal Oblique, EuroNCAP MPDB and IIHS Side Impact (Higher Speed)


Testing to proposed standards before they’re mandated.

Auto manufacturers can mitigate risk in developing new vehicle models while regulations are being defined by testing their vehicles to meet these standards in advance of mandated compliance. By conducting physical testing, engineers gain first-hand experience about these protocols; including test set-up, execution, processing of data and the interpretation of the results. And along the way, they can also identify areas within such protocols which are vague and require interpretation and factors in the process that could affect the outcome of such tests. It also provides them with first-hand experience on how their vehicle design performs under such test conditions.

But where can engineers turn in order to quickly gather this invaluable information?

Calspan’s Vehicle Crash Test Facility. An independent, test facility that is trusted for performing such testing by OEMs, first-tier suppliers, government agencies and aftermarket companies from around the world.

Calspan’s world-class test facility offers:

  • State-of-the-art technology – If your lab is at capacity, run overflow testing at Calspan without missing a beat.
  • Capable and experienced staff – a dedicated team of expert engineers and technicians will work with you to design and execute your tests
  • High-quality data capture – Execute regulation testing or validate CAE models

Calspan has an extensive history in crashing cars and has developed invaluable knowledge and contacts across the automotive industry. These connections give Calspan great insight into these new regulations. And Calspan’s, new, fully enclosed, modern and highly secure facility is the ideal place to conduct such testing.

Automakers interested in learning more about testing to new and proposed test standards should contact Gerald Goupil, Director of Crash Test Operations at [email protected].


Calspan has been conducting vehicle crash tests since the 1960s. In January 2018, Calspan opened a brand new, fully enclosed, vehicle crash test laboratory. The massive facility features two crash halls, MESSRING technology, secure test vehicle preparation bays for each and every customer, and an ATD calibration lab. Designed based on customer feedback, the building offers safety, security, and efficiency not available anywhere else in North America.

The response from this opening was overwhelmingly positive. In its first year of operation, Calspan has purchased additional equipment and has significantly increased the size of its staff to meet the demands of the market. Calspan continues to bring new test modes online in response to the future needs of the automotive industry.

Learn more.

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