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Move over, crash tests—Volvo is now using drop tests to help train rescuers


Sometimes you have to make a sacrifice for the greater good. Take Volvo, which has started DROPPING brand-new cars from a height of 30 meters to help emergency services practice rescuing people from badly crashed, modern cars. 

Volvo says dropping cars “multiple times from a crane” can better “simulate the damage found in the most extreme crash scenarios” than crashing cars in a lab. Engineers calculate exactly “how much pressure and force each car needed to be exposed to in order to reach the desired level of damage” before each drop. Because science.

Moreover, it helps the rescue services figure out how best to extract people from modern cars. The vehicles they usually practice on come from scrapyards and can be up to 20 years old, and thus much easier to rip into than the toughest modern metal. If rescue teams can successfully extricate someone from a Volvo, they ought to be able to get them out of pretty much anything bar an actual tank.

The results from Volvo’s tests will be published in a report and made available to rescue teams from elsewhere, because it’s nice like that.