In developing the AMF Experimental Safety Vehicle, two of the major problems encountered involved limitation of passenger compartment intrusion during side impacts, and dissipation of vehicle kinetic energy during high-velocity front and rear impacts.
A design solution to the first of these problems has been developed, which has as its basic element an aluminum honeycomb sandwich door panel. Several evolutionary models have been built and tested under both static and dynamic loading, including full-scale vehicle crashes. Actual behavior has agreed very well with analytically predicted behavior, enabling the side structure system to meet ESV design goals.
The solution developed for the second problem utilizes variable stroke hydraulic buffers to absorb the required energy. Bumper systems incorporating such buffers were tested successfully in various impact configurations at velocities of up to 50 mph. Both analysis and test results led to the conclusion that the ESV crashworthiness goals can be met or exceeded with such systems.