Calspan has been executing vehicle crash tests for the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) since the program’s inception - Test Number 1 was performed by Calspan on June 6, 1979.

Since 2010, Calspan has been assisting the agency in research work in support of these proposed changes. Throughout this period of time, Calspan amassed an exceptional level of skill and technical proficiency, surpassing any other crash test laboratory in the world. Calspan owns and operates all equipment necessary to execute these tests, including two THOR ATDs and a WorldSID with RibEye.

Calspan continues a long tradition of supporting the automotive industry by executing unique and specialized vehicle crash tests to gather previously unavailable data. Whether it’s to solve a problem, make a comparison, or simply for pure research, Calspan takes a methodical approach in both developing and executing vehicle tests.


The NCAP program is not an enforcement tool that the agency can use to ensure compliance with regulations, like FMVSS regulations, which are established under 49 U.S.C. Chapter 301. Since the NCAP program does not meet the criteria under the Administrative Procedure Act of 1947, as NHTSA’s rulemakings are required to meet, the agency issues “Requests for Comments” (RFC) instead of a “Notice of Proposed Rule” (NPRM) when offering upgrades or changes to the NCAP program.

On January 19, 2017 the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) released a second RFC notice regarding changes that they are planning to make to the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). This document provided or referenced certain updates to the information that their December 16, 2015 RFC notice contained. These updates include: (1) modifications to information or materials previously provided, (2) new information that completes the technical basis for the planned changes to NCAP, and (3) a discussion of the new 5-star safety rating system. These changes affect the three traditional crash modes of Full Frontal, Side Oblique Pole and Side MDB. The changes also include the addition of a new Frontal Oblique Crash Test.

Because Calspan has been involved with these new standards, we have summarized the upcoming changes below for your reference:

Having been involved with the new standards, we have summarized the upcoming changes below for your reference:

1. Full Frontal Impact into Barrier

Current Test:

Current US NCAP Full Frontal

Proposed Test:

Proposed US NCAP Full Frontal 2x Line Weight


The test will continue to be conducted at 56 (km/h) / 35 (mph) but the dummy type and positioning will change. A THOR 50th percentile male dummy will be placed in the driver’s seat at the mid-track position and a Hybrid III 5th female dummy will be placed in the right front passenger seat in a mid-track position. There will also be a Hybrid III 5th female dummy placed in the second row behind the right front passenger. Both Hybrid III 5th females will be instrumented with the new RibEye Instrumentation for measuring chest deflection.  


2. Side Moving Deformable Barrier (MDB)

Current Test:

Current US NCAP Side MDB

Proposed Test:



The essence of this test will not change however, a WorldSID 50th percentile male dummy will be placed in the driver’s seat instead of the 50th percentile ES-2re male dummy. The SID IIs 5th percentile female dummy will continue to occupy the near-side rear outboard seat of the test vehicle. NHTSA will now have the option to test the left or right side of the vehicle. Only one crash test per vehicle will be executed.  Contact us to schedule a test!

3. Side Oblique Pole

Current Test:

Current US NCAP Side Pole

Proposed Test:

Proposed US NCAP Side Pole


The test conditions have not changed; however, a WorldSID-50th percentile male dummy will be placed in the front struck-side outboard seating position, replacing the SID-IIs dummy. Similar to the Side MDB, NHTSA will have the option to impact either the left or right side of the vehicle and only one crash test per vehicle will be executed. NHTSA is currently working through the final stages of development and robustness testing of a WorldSID 5th percentile female dummy.

4. Frontal Oblique

Proposed Test:

Proposed US NCAP Oblique


This new test mode consists of a stationary vehicle oriented at 15 degrees and 35 percent overlap to the new Oblique Deformable Barrier (OMDB).  This OMDB has a suspension, a wider face plate than the barrier outer track, a new barrier honeycomb and will weigh 2486 (kg) / 5480 (lb).

In this test the OMDB travels at 90 (km/h) / 56 (mph) into the front of a stationary test vehicle.  For this test, two THOR 50th percentile male dummies will be required, one placed in the front driver position and the other in the front passenger position.  An abort system is recommended to ensure that the OMDB does not have a secondary impact with the test vehicle.  Contact us today to schedule a test!

Calspan also has a unique asset at our disposal to stop the OMDB post impact, after separation occurs between the OMDB and the test vehicle.  This guarantees that a secondary impact between the OMDB and the test vehicle does not occur.

Get in touch with our team today to see how we can help with your next test!