During the development of its Next Gen racecar, NASCAR took the unusual step of conducting on-track crash testing at Talladega Superspeedway in 2021. The car was — of course — remotely piloted and now the supplier of the driving robots used, UK-based firm AB Dynamics, has explained the systems deployed and further details of the test.
The test requirement was to drive the car at 130 mph to a precise impact point into the SAFER (Steel And Foam Energy Reduction) barrier, hitting it at an angle of 24 degrees. To control the vehicle‘s speed and direction it was fitted with steering, shifting and pedal (throttle, brake and clutch) robots. The inputs to the robots were provided by AB Dynamics‘ path following software, which can use pre-recorded driving information and geometric GPS data to accurately navigate a predetermined route. This package ensured the vehicle was positioned to within 2cm of the impact point, hitting the wall at precisely 130.015 mph and was within 1 degree of the prescribed angle.
Read much more at see video at Professional Motorsports World.