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Improving driver safety is one of the mission-critical tasks for the engineers at the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing’s (NASCAR, Daytona Beach, FL) research and development center. To aid them in their efforts, a family of high-speed, high-resolution cameras has been implemented into the facility.
Steve Peterson, NASCAR’s technical director, supervises safety testing at the center. His team uses a variety of means to test the safety of cars including computer simulations and crash test dummies. The new tools in the R&D center’s arsenal are high-speed cameras from Redlake MASD LLC (Tucson, AZ).
“We have been focused on the driver’s space and what protects the driver: restraint systems, the seat, and the space around him,” says Peterson. “The ‘car of tomorrow’ will be bigger in the driver’s compartment area. It looks the same, but just a few inches, from the driver’s perspective, is a big deal. We fill some of that increased space with crushable material that absorbs energy. Redlake’s high-speed cameras allow us to record how these materials deform and crush just as we have recorded simulated driver movements in past crash simulations and those images are then utilized by our engineers to further improve the vehicle.”
NASCAR, which is the sanctioning body for 1,800 races run at 120 tracks in 38 states, acquired Redlake’s MotionXtra HG series of cameras. The cameras, which consist of the HG-100K, HG-TH and HG-LE, are designed for such applications as vehicle impact testing, airbag deployment, component safety testing, research, design and test, production and manufacturing, and range, aerospace and ballistics. Resolutions range from 1000 frames per second (fps) at full resolution, up to 100,000 fps at reduced resolutions. The cameras can withstand up to 100 G in any axis.