Volvo doesn’t approach car safety the same way as its competitors. When the Swedish company was developing the current XC90, we famously saw it perform all sorts of unusual crash tests, including one that involved firing the car out of a ditch.
We shouldn’t be at all surprised, then, to see Volvo dropping a range of its latest products 30 metres from a crane, all in the name of safety. The idea was to help the extraction specialists of rescue teams better understand how to cut into modern cars - usually, Volvo says, training would be done using vehicles taken from scrap yards.
This is likely to involve an older vehicle, so it’s important to fill the knowledge gap. Compared to one built 15 or so years ago, a modern car is going to be a very different beast to chop up thanks to changing materials, construction methods and safety cage designs in the motoring industry.
“Volvos are made of some of the hardest steel found in modern cars,” the company boasts, making them ideal test subjects. It’s vital for extraction using tools like the ‘jaws of life’ to be as fast as possible - there’s something known as the ‘golden hour’, which refers to the need for a patient to arrive in hospital within an hour of an accident occurring.
Volvo dropped 10 of its cars in the tests several times and at multiple angles. Front, side and rear impacts all featured, ensuring the vehicles deformed in different ways. The 30 metres wasn’t just a random number, with Volvo’s safety engineers said to have carefully calculated the kind of pressures required to “to reach the desired level of damage”.
Although the company worked with Swedish emergency services for the test, all of the results will be made available for free to rescue teams worldwide. And as for the rest of us, we can enjoy all the mesmerising slow-motion footage.