DETROIT - In a move to better understand the causes of accidents and bring advanced technology to market sooner, General Motors will invest $33 million to build a rollover testing center next to its Milford Proving Ground in Milford, Mich.
The rollover center, which will be adjacent to an existing crash-barrier test site, will develop rollover sensing systems for airbags and occupant protection systems to reduce the likelihood of ejection in a crash.
The testing center, which will open in late 2006, initially will conduct 120 to 150 tests a year with the capacity for more. At first, five rollover scenarios will be used. Others will be added if needed.
GM has said all of its trucks will have rollover airbags as an option by 2010.
The automaker also is making electronic stability control, or StabiliTrak, standard on all noncommercial cars and trucks by the end of the decade.
StabiliTrak is standard on most full-sized SUVs and will be standard on mid-sized SUVs this fall.
"Rollover crashes are a major reason why GM has committed to make electronic stability control standard by the end of the decade," says Bob Lange, executive director of vehicle structure and safety integration. "This rollover facility is an example of our commitment to comprehensive safety - before, during and after a crash."
Being able to conduct rollover tests in-house will lead to faster development of rollover-sensing technology, increase efficiency and save money, says Albert Ware, director of the Vehicle Safety and Crash Worthiness Lab at the proving ground.
In addition to the rollover center, GM said it will spend: