The KODIAQ anatomy can now be explored on a special vehicle that has been dismantled for ŠKODA by Benet engineers. “All of the key elements of the bodywork structure are visible – the deformation zones, the door reinforcements, the passenger compartment skeleton whose borders are formed by the A-pillar, B-pillar, doorsill and roof. Also uncovered are the locations of the respective airbags (including the pyro cartridges), the impact sensors along the vehicle’s perimeter, as well as the active safety elements – assistance systems, for example the front radar and camera, blind spot sensors, parking sensors, etc.,” explains Petr Kraus, Head of Vehicle Safety Development. “Further, the model offers spectacular views of the structure for all three rows of seats, including the seat AC system as well as the electrically controlled seat-positioning system that is fully functional. This makes it possible to check out the whole mechanism. Also completely functional is the window control system, which can be viewed – like in an aquarium –through big cut-outs as the windows slide down. The pop-out tow bar mechanism is exposed, too.”
The “anatomical” model is meant to be used primarily for safety promotion campaigns, presentations to automotive development experts, importer and dealer training, as well as public presentations. And where can you see it? The KODIAQ cross-section model will no doubt appear in various TV programmes, at firefighter training sessions the purpose of which is to show the simplest ways of getting into the car if necessary, at safety education events for both adults and children, etc.
Before doing so to the KODIAQ, “automotive surgeons” had also made cross sections from some of the other ŠKODA models currently available, including the RAPID, FABIA, OCTAVIA and SUPERB.
SAFETY CRITERIA ARE BECOMING INCREASINGLY STRICT
“All of the key elements of the bodywork structure are visible – the deformation zones, the door reinforcements, the passenger compartment skeleton whose borders are formed by the A- pillar, B- pillar, doorsill and roof. These days, radar and airbags come as mandatory equipment in all vehicles.“
Head of Vehicle Safety Development
“We take passive safety to new levels with every new vehicle. Restraint systems, such as airbags and seatbelts, but also interior panelling, seats, dashboards – all these keep evolving in terms of resistance to impacts.
The KODIAQ also comes with multiple active-safety enhancements. As standard, the car is fitted with automatic brake systems able to detect an obstacle and activate the brake before the impact. Other systems, such as the blind spot sensor, driver fatigue sensor, and multifunction camera to identify traffic signs, help the driver control the vehicle. Automotive development is moving forward in all respects, and this progress goes hand in hand with changes in legislation. In this connection, the safety criteria are becoming increasingly strict, and we need to respond to these trends and changes.
All of the ŠKODA vehicles launched since 2008 have received five Euro NCAP stars. Eight years ago, however, the assessment criteria were different. To achieve the highest score today, all cars sold in the EU must be fitted with front radar, and 50% of the vehicles sold in the EU have to be equipped with the Lane Assist system.
While in 2014 it was enough to fit the radar to just 50% of the FABIA III production volume and the vehicle could still receive five stars, today (in the KODIAQ) this has to be 100%. We respond to the latest safety-related developments by equipping our vehicles accordingly. These days, radar and airbags come as mandatory equipment in all vehicles.”
THE SOPHISTICATED SAFETY ASSISTANCE SYSTEMS
“The key role shared by the assistance systems and passive and active safety solutions is to minimize the consequences of emergencies, if any, and protect users of ŠKODA vehicles as efficiently as possible.“
Head of Lighting, Wiping and Assistance Systems
“The developers’ mission in the area of active safety is to prevent accidents or at least mitigate their seriousness, for example by reducing the vehicle’s speed. These two (active and passive) are not strictly separate, though. We combine the two approaches, which means that active and passive systems are used simultaneously. The objective is to prevent accidents or, if that’s not possible, prepare the car occupants for the impact.
In addition to such well-known systems as ABS and ESP, the KODIAQ features the sophisticated safety assistance systems introduced in the OCTAVIA III and SUPERB III, as well as a number of systems that are making their debut at ŠKODA. These include the following:
1) Pedestrian protection
A safety system designed to prevent collisions between the vehicle and pedestrians. At city-traffic speeds, the vehicle is expected to stop in front of the pedestrian or dramatically reduce the impact speed.
2) Emergency obstacle
Avoidance braking – the functionality of the ultrasound sensors located in the bumper (used for parking systems so far) has been extended with a new safety level – at low speeds of up to approximately 7 kilometres per hour, the system warns the driver of obstacles acoustically or visually on the display, plus, in the event of an imminent collision, it activates the brakes to stop the vehicle reliably.
3) Area View
The widescreen cameras in the front and rear and in the wing mirrors provide various views of the vehicle’s surroundings on the dashboard screen, including a virtual bird’s-eye view and 180° views of the front and rear. This facilitates driving in chaotic situations and/or off-road conditions.
The latest trend is to merge individual systems in order to enhance overall functionality. While so far each function has been performed by an independent sensor or unit, some of today’s driver assistance systems combine available information to create further systems. The use of information provided by the front radar and the multifunction camera is a good example.
“Besides assistance systems, I am also responsible for vehicle lighting solutions. The KODIAQ is the first ŠKODA to feature full-LED headlamps. Compared to halogen and/or xenon systems, these headlamps boast substantially enhanced optical parameters, which is an important improvement, because seeing and being seen perfectly is an essential precondition for safe night-time driving.”
BODY: A SOPHISTICATED CORE
“The latest trend is to merge individual systems in order to enhance overall functionality. The vehicle’s body is a sophisticated mix of various materials put together to protect the car’s occupants as effectively as possible in the event of an accident. We are able to optimize the body by means of virtual methods, which are the alpha and omega of our work.“
Head of Bodywork and Assembled Parts
“Responsibility for the safety of the car’s occupants, as well as for that of other traffic participants, lies with a variety of advanced camera, radar and sensory systems. The key building block, however, is the strong bodywork structure designed to provide a safe space for the car’s occupants in the event of an accident. Further, the car occupants are protected by as many as nine airbags plus other restraint systems such as seatbelts, headrests, the dashboard, pedals, child seats, etc.
The car’s body, which is the most important part of the car’s occupant protection system, consists of hundreds of components, with the exact number depending on the vehicle type. In terms of functions, the body is divided into two parts: front and rear deformation zones, whose role is to reduce and absorb the energy of impact, and the passenger compartment which, on the contrary, is designed not to become deformed.
The vehicle’s body is a sophisticated mix of various materials put together to protect the car’s occupants as effectively as possible in the event of an accident. We are able to optimize the body by means of virtual methods, which are the alpha and omega of our work these days. We employ these methods to identify the right mass-optimization spots. To put it simply, we look for ways of making the body stronger and lighter at the same time.
The KODIAQ cross-section model exposes the high-strength material locations, showing the frame and the car occupant protection system very nicely. In the front part of the body, we can see the deformation zones that make it possible for the body to become deformed and thus absorb the energy of impact.
We have been using calculation methods for over two decades. Our recent calculations have shown that if we used the same technologies to the same extent as we did in the YETI some years ago, the KODIAQ would be 20 kilograms heavier. We have reduced the car’s weight by using high-strength materials. I believe that high-strength materials will evolve in the future, but there will be no revolution in this respect. They still offer some potential for development, but this potential is not as huge as it used to be. If we wanted to reduce the body weight dramatically, we would have to use different materials, but the question is whether that would be cost-effective.”
WHAT WILL THE TRANSPARENT DOORS EXPOSE?
“From the passenger’s perspective, the doors perform access and storage functions. Developers have to “fit” a variety of systems and technologies to today’s car doors – reinforcements, control units, locks, handles, window controls, limiters, speakers, cable harnesses and perhaps also Door Protectors, one of our latest innovations. Besides meeting strict ergonomic requirements, the interior side of the doors is required to offer practical features, including bottle storage areas, hi- visibility vest storage compartments and, last but not least, storage compartments for umbrellas, which is one of the solutions typical of today’s ŠKODA vehicles.”
Head of Door and Tailgate Development
“Each part comes with specific installation-space requirements determined by its functions. As the number of accessory configurations, functions and versions is growing, it is becoming increasingly more difficult to fit the doors with all the required systems while meeting the strict safety requirements. There are zones within the doors which cannot be fitted with some parts or solutions for reasons relating to car occupant protection.”