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CARISSMA: the New Scientific Center for Vehicle Safety in Germany

Major automotive research project at a German university will begin activities in 2016 / MESSRING will plan and equip the crash-test facility at the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences / Total value of the research project €28 million

Many key developments in the field of road and vehicle safety originate from research projects carried out at German universities. The results of these projects are often seamlessly incorporated into new developments by automotive manufacturers – with the clear goal of making advancements to vehicles’ active and passive safety systems. A groundbreaking test center for research and development in the field of vehicle safety in Germany is currently being established at the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences. The goal for the CARISSMA (Center of Automotive Research on Integrated Safety Systems and Measurement Area) project is to become the leading scientific center for integrated safety in Germany. In this context, integrated means that – for the first time in Germany – not only will partial aspects such as airbags, auto body, and active safety systems be studied, but also the overall concept of all safety-related topics in the vehicle will be studied at a central location. The whole project is headed by Prof. Dr. Thomas Brandmeier from the University of Ingolstadt.

At the beginning of the year, the contract for the crash-test facility, one of the core components of CARISSMA, was awarded to the well-known crash-test facility manufacturer MESSRING, headquartered in Krailling. The Bavarian company is currently working on the structural integration of the new crash-test facility and is equipping the university with state-of-the-art system engineering technology.

CARISSMA is scheduled to be fully operational in January 2016. The center, with total floor space of 4,000 square meters, will then house laboratories, offices, and testing areas. The ground-breaking ceremony was held on April 2, 2014, with Bavarian Minister of Scientific Affairs Dr. Ludwig Spaenle in attendance. This is the first publicly funded research center at a university in Germany. The German federal government is covering 50% of the costs totaling €28 million for the research project, with the state of Bavaria covering the other half. This makes the project the largest and also most state-of-the-art vehicle testing facility at a university in Europe.

The scientific and technical head of the project, Igor Doric, is extremely pleased with the progress so far: “Our main goal is to make the center the most state-of-the-art and innovative location for scientific transportation and vehicle research in Germany. In this context, the focus is on integrated safety. When it comes to the crash-test facility, we are extremely pleased to have the proven experts from MESSRING at our side. A total of over 50 scientists and testing engineers will research integrated vehicle safety systems at CARISSMA.”

The company MESSRING came out on top of the competition in the call for bids for the center and, in the coming months, will deliver to Ingolstadt a MicroTrack system, an electric propulsion system especially designed for crash-test facilities, a mobile impact block, a film pit with transparent cover panels, and a variety of barriers and structures for a number of different impact scenarios.

The 74-meter sled-test facility at CARISSMA will be equipped with the proven MESSRING MicroTrack system. The system offers a major benefit: the guide channel is much narrower than in conventional systems, allowing for many more details to be captured in vehicle crash video footage from below in the film pit – a key factor in evaluating vehicle crashing behavior. The special barriers supplied by MESSRING allow the university’s engineers to conduct offset tests and small overlap tests, as well as pole and side-impact tests. These are all mandatory crash-test variations required by individual public testing authorities (such as the well-known NCAP program with the star rating) from North America, Europe, and Asia.

The sled-test facility is powered by an electric propulsion system developed by MESSRING especially for use in crash tests. The electric motor for the center will have a power rating of 400 kilowatts. This allows vehicles weighing a total of up to 3.5 tons to be accelerated to a speed of 65 km/h before they collide with the impact block. The special feature of this block is that it can be completely removed to clear the entire space. This allows pedestrian tests and active-safety tests, which require more space, to be carried out in the crash hall. Finally, in addition to the crash-test facility, CARISSMA will also house a drop-tower lab, a battery lab, and an HiL (hardware-in-the-loop) laboratory. The center plans to primarily conduct trials of testing methods for Car2X communication outside the main facility. These are tests in which vehicles communicate with one another or other objects for the purpose of exchanging important information – a vision for the future that will increase road safety.

A system of this size at a university is even a first for the global market leader MESSRING, as Wolfgang Rohleder, manager of sales and applications at MESSRING, explains: “We have often planned research projects or systems with universities in the past. But as far as scope and project size goes, CARISSMA outshines all of them. When it comes to vehicle testing at a university, the completed system will raise the bar around the globe. The focus in Ingolstadt is clearly moving toward a combination of classic vehicle testing with tests of active safety systems and topics such as Car2X communication

The frontside of the new CARISSMA project in Ingolstadt (Copyright Henn GmbH)

A MicroTrack crash test system built by MESSRING in China (Copyright MESSRING)

The electric propulsion system used in Ingolstadt (Copyright MESSRING)


MESSRING in Krailling, close to Munich is the world’s leading manufacturer of crash test systems and components. The mid-size company designs and builds turnkey test systems for customers in all relevant markets and on nearly all continents. To date, MESSRING has implemented more than 100 large crash test systems for automotive OEMs, automotive suppliers, governmental authorities and insurance companies – more than any other company. In the process, the global market leader continues to astonish the industry time and again with innovative advances and revolutionary new solutions, whether in system design, the actual measurement equipment, or in documentation and recording of individual tests.

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