Advanced research in the areas of vehicle safety and occupant protection in recent years have concentrated on developing systems and techniques that perform at impact speeds of 50 mph or greater. Recent developments on the NHTSA's Research Safety Vehicle program have indicated these efforts can be met with some measure of success. The question naturally arises then for the restraint systems as to what their performance would be in a more conventional vehicle. How well would restraint systems which were designed for an advanced crashworthy vehicle structure perform when integrated into a small production vehicle. To investigate these questions the NHTSA sponsored a program at Dynamic Science to integrate advanced restraint systems into a small production vehicle and to evaluate their performance over a variety of impact conditions. The vehicle selected for this program was the 1976 Volvo 244 and the restraint systems used were those developed for the Minicars RSV.
The purpose of the program conducted by Dynamic Science was to design the structural interface in the Volvo 244 to support these advanced restraint designs and evaluate their performance under realistic impact conditions. The goal was to determine the performance limits in terms of velocity change that could be expected for each of these restraint systems. This necessitated having test velocities which taxed the limits of system performance and required some testing be performed beyond acceptable limits for system performance.