Celebrating 90 Years of GM’s Milford Proving Ground

Celebrating 90 Years of GM’s Milford Proving Ground

Safety testing moves from primitive to high-tech over the decades






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DETROIT – When the General Motors Milford Proving Ground opened in 1924 – 90 years ago this October – engineers lacked advanced tools and technology for safety testing. Judging from this video, some might say the only crash test dummies back then were human.

Engineers today keep their distance during crash tests. No more riding the running boards until seconds before impact. Inside the vehicles being tested are heavily instrumented anthropomorphic test devices – dummies – who capture the data for which engineers once risked their lives.

“The technology used today to research vehicles is far superior to the past, but the intention stays the same, put vehicles to the test in the name of safety,” said Jack Jensen, the GM engineering group manager for the dummy lab and a GM Technical Fellow. “We have more sophisticated dummies, computers to monitor crashes and new facilities to observe different types of potential hazards.

“All those things together give our engineers the ability to design a broad range of vehicles that safely get our customers where they need to go.”

GM has provided customers with many industry-firsts using the Milford Proving Ground to test the developments:

  • Patent-pending child restraint seat cushion extension feature: A segment safety first, the 2015 Chevrolet Colorado and GMC Canyon jump seat headrest can be removed from the back of the seat on inserted into the base to give the child seat more area to sit on
  • Belt assurance system: The industry-first keeps drivers from shifting from “park” if not buckled up, will be launching in Q4 of 2014 on a limited group of fleet vehicles
  • Front center air bag: GM was the first manufacturer to introduce the feature in 2013 on all full size crossovers, it will also be on the all-new 2015 full size utilities
  • Rollover test facility: GM was the first North American auto manufacturer to build a rollover test facility, which opened in 2006.
  • Test dummies: In the early 1980s, GM’s safety team developed several dummies, including the Hybrid III, which became the universal standard for frontal crash testing and remains so today across the globe.

About General Motors in Canada

Headquartered in Oshawa, Ontario, General Motors of Canada Limited (GMCL) employs more than 9,000 people across the country and is a recognized leader in green manufacturing.  GMCL markets the full range of fuel-efficient Chevrolet, Buick, GMC and Cadillac vehicles and related services through Canada’s largest automotive dealer network. More information regarding GMCL models can be found at www.gm.ca, or by following @GMCanada on Twitter.