“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.”