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Safety Testing Explained

Safety Testing Explained.

ANCAP safety ratings are determined based on a series of internationally recognised, independent crash tests and safety assessments – involving a range of destructive physical crash tests, an assessment of on-board safety features and equipment, and performance testing of active collision avoidance technologies.

From January 2018, all vehicles rated by ANCAP
are evaluated against four key areas of assessment:

A range of tests and assessments are conducted within each area, with vehicles required to meet minimum score thresholds for each star rating level. Rating requirements (test criteria) are updated every two years to encourage the latest safety features and technologies to be incorporated into new cars entering the Australian and New Zealand markets.

Physical crash tests.

A range of destructive crash tests are conducted to simulate the most common types of crashes including frontal impact, side impact, run-off-road, rear-end, and pedestrian strikes. The effect on adult and child occupants is assessed.

In all physical crash tests, dummies are used to measure the forces and likely injuries a driver, passenger or vulnerable road user - such as a pedestrian or cyclist - may sustain during a crash. The data gathered from the dummies is assessed, along with an inspection of physical vehicle deformation, on-board hazards and performance of in-built restraint systems, and scores determined for each respective crash test.

Explore the following seven physical crash tests conducted from 2020…

frontal offset test

full width frontal test

side impact test

Frontal Offset Test

In the real-world...

The frontal offset (MPDB) test simulates a head-on crash with another vehicle travelling at the same speed.

At our test centre...

The test vehicle travels at 50km/h, with 50% of the vehicle on the driverʼs side making contact with an oncoming trolley also travelling at 50km/h. The 1,400kg trolley has a crushable aluminium face to simulate the front of the oncoming car.

The test vehicle has two adult dummies in the front – a THOR dummy in the driverʼs seat and a Hybrid III 50th percentile dummy in the passengerʼs seat – and two child dummies – representing a 6 year and a 10 year old – seated in appropriate child restraints in the rear.

Full Width Frontal Test

In the real-world...

The full width frontal test simulates a head-on crash with another car of the same mass travelling at the same speed, as well as impacts with rigid structures.

At our test centre...

Conducted at 50km/h, the full width of the vehicle front makes contact with a solid wall with no deformable element. The test vehicle is occupied by two small (5th percentile) adult female dummies – one as the driver, and one as a rear seat passenger. This test is used to encourage vehicle brands to include enhanced restraints, including seat belt pre-tensioners and load limiters, for smaller statured and rear seat occupants.

Side Impact Test

In the real-world...

The side impact (MDB) test simulates two cars colliding at a 90 degree angle (commonly referred to as a T-Bone collision).

At our test centre...

A 1,400kg barrier which simulates the oncoming (striking) vehicle impacts the driverʼs side of the test vehicle at 60km/h. The barrier has a crushable aluminium face to simulate the front of the striking vehicle. As part of the more stringent 2020 test protocols, both the mass and speed of the barrier have been increased – up from 1,300kg and 50km/h.

Far-Side Impact Tests

pedestrian protection

oblique pole test

Far-Side Impact Tests

In the real-world...

Fatal and serious injuries can be caused by the occupant coming into contact with an intrusion on the opposite side of the vehicle such as the vehicle interior or another occupant.

At our test centre...

Two far-side impact crash tests are conducted to evaluate occupant-to-vehicle and occupant-to-occupant interaction in the side impact and oblique pole tests. These tests evaluate the likely injury to the occupant on the non-struck side of the vehicle and encourages vehicle brands to include features, such as centre airbags, to reduce excessive movement of the occupants across the vehicle.

Pedestrian Protection

In the real-world...

Pedestrians make up a significant proportion of those killed or seriously injured as a result of a collision with a vehicle.

At our test centre...

The pedestrian tests estimate likely head and leg injuries to child and adult pedestrians, with head-forms and leg-forms fired at various test locations on the front bumper, bonnet, windscreen and A-pillars of the vehicle. These tests are conducted at 40km/h.

Oblique Pole Test

In the real-world...

The oblique pole test simulates a vehicle colliding with a fixed object such as a tree or pole, at an oblique angle – a common run-off-road scenario.

At our test centre...

In this test, the vehicle is travelling at 32km/h and collides at a 75 degree angle into a fixed metal pole which is aligned with the driverʼs head. The pole is relatively narrow, resulting in major penetration into the side of the car. Curtain airbags are particularly effective in reducing the chance of serious head injury in this type of crash, as well as in side impacts with higher striking vehicles.

whiplash test

Whiplash Test

In the real-world...

Head and neck injuries resulting from rear impact (rear-end) crashes are common and can be significant.

At our test centre...

Dynamic whiplash tests are conducted to assess likely head and neck injury rear impact crashes. A seat from the test vehicle is mounted to a mobile sled which is propelled forwards to simulate a rear-end collision. These tests are conducted with moderate and high impact severity representing an average acceleration of 4.9 g and 6.4 g respectively increasing levels of acceleration and severity.

Performance tests of active safety systems.

Vehicles are assessed for the presence and effectiveness of safety assist technologies – active safety systems that can help avoid or reduce the effects of a crash.

The safety assist technologies assessed from 2020 include autonomous emergency braking (AEB), lane support systems (LSS), automatic emergency steering (AES) and speed assistance systems (SAS).

Explore the following active safety system tests…

autonomous emergency
braking (AEB) tests

Automatic Emergency
Steer (AES) tests

lane support system
(LSS) tests

Autonomous Emergency Braking (AEB) tests

In the real-world...

AEB systems use camera, radar and/or lidar technology to detect the speed and distance of objects in the vehicleʼs path and automatically brake, if the driver does not respond in order to avoid or minimise the severity of a crash.

At our test centre...

Over 100 different AEB test scenarios form part of our assessment of a vehicleʼs ability to autonomously brake at city and highway speeds to avoid collisions with stationary vehicles, moving vehicles and at braking vehicles.

Vulnerable road users are also considered, with AEB performance tests conducted to assess a vehicleʼs ability to detect, prevent or avoid a crash with pedestrians and cyclists (AEB VRU) - at daytime and at night– as well as during 90 degree intersection turns (AEB Junction), and reversing manoeuvres (AEB VRU – Backover).

Automatic Emergency Steer (AES) tests

In the real-world...

A vehicle may not be able to avoid a crash with a vehicle in front solely through braking, however it may be able to steer into an adjacent lane to avoid a crash.

At our test centre...

The vehicleʼs ability to assist the driver in safely steering the vehicle into a clear adjacent lane where avoidance of oncoming vehicles and vehicles travelling in the same direction is assessed.

Lane Support System (LSS) tests

In the real-world...

Lane support systems such as lane departure warning (LDW), lane keep assist (LKA), and emergency lane keeping (ELK) recognise lane markings and alert the driver through audible, visual or haptic warnings if the vehicle is leaving the lane without indicating. Active systems automatically bring the vehicle back within the lane if the driver fails to respond.

At our test centre...

Lane support systems are assessed on an outdoor test track with the vehicle intentionally and unintentionally leaving the vehicleʼs lane in order to determine how the vehicleʼs systems react and activate to prevent a collision with an adjacent vehicle or obstacle, or a resulting run-off-road crash. The vehicleʼs capability to ‘readʼ solid and broken lane markings as well as non-marked road edges is assessed.

speed assistance system
(SAS) tests

Driver Monitoring

Speed Assistance System (SAS) tests

In the real-world...

Manual speed limiters, speed sign recognition and intelligent speed adaptation systems assist the driver in managing appropriate speeds using onboard cameras and/or the vehicleʼs map-based GPS location.

At our test centre...

The effectiveness of different speed assistance functions are assessed including a vehicleʼs ability to inform the driver of the present speed limit; warn the driver when the vehicleʼs speed exceeds a set speed threshold; and actively preventing the vehicle from exceeding a set speed or the posted speed limit.

Driver Monitoring Systems

In the real-world...

Driver impairment, fatigue and distraction are contributing factors to road crashes and subsequent road trauma.

At our test centre...

Vehicles are assessed for their ability to monitor and alert the driver as to levels of driver attentiveness / fatigue based on in-vehicle monitoring systems and driver vehicle inputs (steering, braking and acceleration).

Scores achieved in each physical and performance test feed into the respective area of assessment. The overall star rating of a vehicle is limited by its lowest performing area of assessment. Learn more at Safety Ratings Explained.

Provision of vehicle safety information for First Responders.

Those first on the scene of a crash to render assistance can be put at risk if they are not aware of the location of high voltage batteries, fuel tanks, airbag inflators and seatbelt pre-tensioners. Their work can also be hampered by locked vehicle doors and high-strength body structures.

To assist with the rescue and safe extrication of occupants, from 2020, vehicle brands will be encouraged to provide standardised vehicle information highlighting the location of potential rescue hazards in the form of a Rescue Card.

ANCAP assessments will also consider a vehicleʼs ability to apply the brakes to avoid a subsequent collision, and automatically unlock doors post-crash to allow ease of emergency access. Rescue Cards will be provided to First Responders in the form of an app.

Meet the ANCAP family.

Dummies provide vital insight into what happens in a crash.

The crash test dummies used by ANCAP have experienced hundreds of crashes first-hand. Their role is critical, as each dummy provides important information as to the levels of protection provided to them by the vehicle.

A range of male and female, adult and child dummies are used in ANCAP crash tests - some designed exclusively for frontal impact crashes, and others designed to provide injury insights when involved in side impact crashes.

ANCAP Hybrid Dummy

Hybrid III
(50th percentile)

Hybrid III
(5th percentile)

Two Hybrid III 50th percentile male dummies are used in the frontal offset test (driver and front passenger). These dummies are specifically designed to gather data from head-on crashes, and are particularly good at providing information on likely head and neck injuries. Chest, leg, knee and feet injury risk are also measured.

Two 5th percentile female dummies are used in the full width frontal test (driver and rear outboard passenger). These lighter, smaller statured adult female dummies help to ensure that vehicle restraints (airbags and seatbelts) work well with smaller occupants that tend to sit further forward and with different belt positions to the mid-sized male dummy that is used in other tests.

Data channels: 39

ANCAP WorldSID Dummy



The WorldSID (side impact) dummy was introduced to the ANCAP family in 2018 and is used in the side impact test (driver), the oblique pole test (driver) and the two far-side impact crash tests (occupant on the non-struck side). The WorldSID is somewhat different to the frontal offset dummy – it is specifically designed to gather side impact data, measuring likely injury risk to the head, shoulder, ribs, spine and internal organs.

Data channels: 35

ANCAP Q-Series Dummy

Q-Series (6 year)

Q-Series (10 year)

With the introduction of child occupant protection assessment from 2018, two child dummies feature in both the frontal offset and side impact tests. These include a 6 year and a 10 year child dummy which are seated in appropriate child restraints, in the second row. The Q-Series dummies are the latest generation of child dummies.

Data channels: 34 (Q10), 13 (Q6)


The THOR (Test device for Human Occupant Restraint) dummy was introduced to the ANCAP family in 2020 and is the most advanced frontal impact dummy in the ANCAP range. Specifically designed for frontal impacts, the THOR dummy is used in the updated frontal offset (MPDB) test where it sits in the driverʼs seating position.

Recording head, neck, and chest injury risk is THORʼs specialty. Featuring up to 99 data channels through its on-board data acquisition system, THOR reflects and records human movements and limitations to a greater degree than the Hybrid III.

Data channels: 99

Pedestrian headforms
and legforms

ANCAP safety rating assessments extend beyond occupant protection and also look at the likely injury effect on pedestrians and other vulnerable road users. Pedestrian dummies are used to assist vehicle manufacturers develop more ‘pedestrian -friendly’ vehicle designs. Full-scale dummies aren’t used in pedestrian testing, rather headforms and legforms are used. The adult headform weighs 4.5kg and the child headform 3.5kg. A Flexible Pedestrian Legform Impactor (Flex-PLI) is used and represents a 50th percentile male leg which is struck from the right side.

AEB Pedestrian, Cyclist,
Junction + Backover dummies

Full-scale pedestrian and cyclist dummy targets are used in testing of autonomous emergency braking. The articulated pedestrian dummies (adult and child) – with moving arms and legs - simulates a pedestrian walking across the street. The cyclist dummy target is similar. The dummy is seated on a bicycle which is propelled to cross in front of the test vehicle. The pedestrian and cyclist dummies represent an average adult and a 7 year old child.

Every 15 minutes someone in Australia and New Zealand is killed or seriously injured in a motor vehicle crash.
That's around 40,000 adults and children every year.

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