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Chevy Trax Safety Improved by Advanced Computer Simulations

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The new 2015 Chevy Trax subcompact SUV

As the subcompact SUV segment begins to really take off, automakers are having to come up with new ways to ensure that these smaller vehicles are still as safe as their full-size counterparts. One tool that Chevrolet’s using is advanced computer simulations, which helped the Chevy Trax earn an IIHS Top Safety Pick recently, as well as a NHTSA five-star safety rating back in January.

Although General Motors won’t reveal just how powerful its new computing systems are, the automaker has apparently increased the speed of the testing process exponentially. According to the Detroit Free Press, every Trax computer model has “5 or 6 million elements,” which correspond “to every nut and bolt, every inch of sheetmetal, every part of the vehicle’s structure and its occupants.”

“Five years ago computer models only had two or three million elements,” global computer engineering manager Bonello said. “It could take a couple of days to run a crash simulation then. Now we do it overnight.”

That means that the crash test process now involves way fewer crash tests. GM is still crashing hand-built prototypes to test their crashworthiness, but the advanced computer simulations have reduced the number of actual crash tests needed by a significant amount, saving the automaker more time and money.

News Source: Detroit Free Press