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Old vs New Car crash test video shows progress of vehicle safety standards

Video explains how automobiles have evolved in the field of safety or passenger protection

The Benz Patent-Motorwagen (or “patent motorcar”), widely regarded as the world’s first ‘production’ automobile, was introduced in 1885. Built by Karl Friedrich Benz, the Patent-Motorwagen was more of a cart without horses (or any other manual forms of propulsion) rather than a conventional vehicle. Years from then, automobiles started attaining different shapes and forms depending on their focus utility.

Today, there are multiple choices across different four-wheeler segments (classified by body style and dimensions), namely hatchbacks, sedans, crossovers, SUVs as well as MPVs or minivans. Thanks to decades of development and technological advancement, all these vehicles have touched new benchmarks in the field of dynamics, efficiency and quality.

Safety is particularly one area of utmost priority common to all manufacturers. A primary reason for this is strengthening road-safety norms among worldwide governments. As a result, organisations such as Global NCAP (New Car Assessment Program) and its regional counterparts (EuroNCAP, ANCAP, ASEAN NCAP, etc.) were formed to determine how a new product performs in the event of a mishap.

The tests are conducted in a controlled environment and take into account multiple parameters including the safety of driver, passengers, child occupants and even pedestrians. Here is a video by automotive YouTube channel ‘4Drive Time’ explaining the evolution of automotive safety standards:

To give a brief summary, the video gives an insight into how cars of modern times safeguard its passengers during a collision, in comparison to those from the 20th century. Examples of either are put up against each other in an ‘offset head-on collision’ or individually in an ‘offset deformable barrier’ test. Irrespective of the setting, cars of today clearly have an edge over its predecessors in terms of safety.

Several old cars might appear ‘stronger’ than modern ones due to size and presence, but their hard shells fail to absorb forces of impact (and prevent them from reaching the occupants) like a new product equipped with adequate crumple zones. However, not all modern cars are as safe as their age and price category require.

One could argue that certain cars currently available on the market have more crumple zone than a cocoon of safety. Nevertheless, it is good to see that safety is becoming more of a necessity in entry-level products rather than an added luxury. In fact, ‘5 Star’ NCAP safety ratings are becoming common in made-in-India products.

Indian automakers generally send their products to foreign safety-testing organisations (usually Global NCAP) as ‘Indian NCAP’ or BNVSAP (Bharat New Vehicle Safety Assessment Program) is yet to come into action. BHVSAP was initially proposed for mid-2014.

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