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August 21, 2014

SWEDEN: New safety testing facility opens

AstaZero has opened its new SEK500m (US$72.3m) safety systems proving ground near Gothenburg, Sweden, the first full-scale facility for future traffic safety

AstaZero has opened its new SEK500m (US$72.3m) safety systems proving ground near Gothenburg, Sweden, the first full-scale facility for future traffic safety

Based upon the collaboration between academia, industry and local authorities, the AstaZero facility will serve as an open, international platform for all interested stakeholders such as vehicle manufacturers, suppliers, legislators, road agents, universities, and technical institutes.

Industry partners in the project include Volvo, Scania, Autoliv and Test Site Sweden. Carmaker Volvo said the proving ground is an important step towards its goal of achieving zero accidents.

Pether Wallin, CEO of AstaZero, said that one of the facility’s greatest assets is its flexibility, with a design that permits the construction of unique, customized environments. He added: “You can simulate all types of real-world traffic scenarios. At most proving grounds, the options are more limited.”

Astrazero can simulate conditions such as those found on busy city roads, highways, multi-lane motorways and crossroads, crucial for studying the way cars interact with moving obstacles such as other cars, pedestrians, cycles, mopeds, motorcycles, trucks, buses and even animals. Some studies, involving complex traffic situations and high speeds, will use robots to operate test vehicles.

Anders Axelson of Volvo Cars Safety Centre, said: “Safety testing under realistic circumstances is a prerequisite for developing our active safety systems. The facility will play several important roles: not only will it help us meet our safety vision, developing cars that don’t crash, it will also help us further develop safety functions that will address non-motorists, such as pedestrians and cyclists.”

Work at AstaZero will also include the development and testing of autonomous driving technology. Advanced systems are also being tested to further help prevent inattentiveness and driver fatigue.

Axelson added: “The Swedish automotive industry is at the leading edge of active safety. Thanks to AstaZero, we have great prospects for keeping our leading position. We’re the only car manufacturing company in the world to have set a goal of zero traffic fatalities for a specific date, and we’re the only country in the world whose government supports a zero traffic fatalities vision.”

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