Progress: Auto crash tests

We tend to forget it easily, but automotive technology made astounding progress in the past decades. And, there is a domain which has been simply transformed by this leap forward: Car safety. 1970’s cars were crushed by the energy of car accidents. The following video is a witness of what happened to pretty good cars (from VW) in these years, when they suffered a crash test. You will easily notice how the passenger compartment deformed itself and wasn’t doing much to protect the passengers (here, crash test dummies). link

But years of engineer’s work changed it all: Safety belts efficiently protect the passenger, airbags further reduce the risks, the compartment itself is nearly unchanged despite the huge energy to dissipate. This car passengers are protected despite the high speed and the shock violence: link

so, everything is well in the best of all worlds? Maybe not. Standardized tests like those from EuroNCAP allow to directly compare cars and you can see differences. Huge differences. As if some cars were just coming straight from olden times.

Admire how these Chinese SUV and sedan will totally crush down (nearly exactly as if they were 1970’s cars, actually). The crash test is revealing: These automobiles may look like cars, they’re not; They should be compared to coffins. link link

So, progress or not progress?