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Inflatable cars highlight Skodas commitment to safety

 Published 30th November 2023
General Guides 

Remote control bicycles and inflatable cars aren’t usually the kind of thing we’d be telling you about. And no, we aren’t about to suggest you should lease either of those things instead of a car. What you’ll actually be leasing is a Skoda, and those two items are just some of the things used to test Skoda’s advanced safety systems at the ‘Polygon’ in Úhelnice, Czech Republic.

The Polygon is the home of Skoda’s safety development programme and it’s where every new model and new piece of active technology is put through its paces.

In the very earliest days of safety experimentation and validation, rockets were used to fire cars down roadways into walls. That’s pretty much what happened back in 1972 when a Skoda 100 was the first model to be put through crash testing, and it was still the case when Skoda tested its first active safety system – it was an ABS test if you’re interested in the details - in 1992.

Thankfully test procedures have come a long way since then, with a suite of robots and remote-controlled road users assisting with the testing these days.

Skoda uses the Polygon to develop its latest active safety technologies

The tests are to meet Skoda’s own stringent safety tests, as well as those all-important Euro NCAP ratings. The 2023 Euro NCAP testing protocol places a greater emphasis on a car’s ability to prevent an accident or minimise damage caused by an accident, highlighting the importance of active safety features. With a maximum five-star rating across its whole range to maintain, Skoda takes safety testing very seriously.

Developing a new safety feature can take years, with hardware and software simulations, and then physical tests and up to 50% of that time taken up with validation. Such features are important in helping prevent collisions not just with other vehicles but pedestrians and cyclists that emerge on the road ahead. Thanks to many of these new safety features, fatalities of pedestrians in the UK have fallen by 20% in the UK since 2019.

At the Polygon, features such as Front Assist, Lane Assist, Crew Protect Assist and Emergency Assist, plus all new systems, can be tested in a safe and controlled environment.

Front Assist is a collision-alert safety system which monitors the road ahead with radar and can apply the brakes when faced with a collision situation to prevent the car from hitting the obstacle ahead entirely or minimising the damage if a crash is unavoidable. In order to develop Front Assist, Skoda safety engineers use a suite of technologies and equipment at their disposal at the Polygon, including the previously mentioned remote control inflatable bikes and cars. This advanced technology is standard across the entire Skoda range.

Other systems such as Crew Protect Assist (this feature pre-tensions the seatbelts and closes the windows and sunroof in a collision), Lane Assist (this can assess the road ahead and help the driver steer in an emergency), and Emergency Assist (this brings the car to a gentle stop with the hazard warning lights on and the horn sounding if the driver has been inactive for 25 seconds, ie they have fallen asleep or suffered a medical emergency), were also developed and honed at the Polygon test centre.

Evidence of Skoda’s commitment to safety and the hard work of engineers at the Polygon can be seen in the all-new Skoda Kodiaq we told you about recently. The second generation Kodiaq features new and improved state-of-the-art assistance systems for maximum protection, including Turn Assist, which helps prevent accidents when turning at junctions.

So, as we said at the beginning, we’re not going to suggest leasing yourself an inflatable bicycle. We are, on the other hand, quite happy to recommend leasing yourself a brand-new Skoda because we know it’s one of the safest brands around, and it has the NCAP ratings to prove it.

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