Fields of Activity

The experts at AZT deal with different questions in the field of automotive technology. Their fields of activity cover both conventional vehicle-related issues and innovations in the automotive area.

 

Crash tests for improved repairability

Since 1982, the crash repair test developed in the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) has been considered the criterion for the repairability of vehicles following smaller accidents. In Germany, an independent trustee derives the vehicle type class for fully comprehensive insurance from the results of these tests; as such, they have a direct impact on the insurance classification of cars which are newly introduced onto the market.

Today, the crash repair test is represented by an international working group (www.rcar.org) and has been standardized throughout the world for the front and rear. As such, these tests are also similarly used in other countries around the globe for the insurance classification.
 

In a frontal crash, the vehicle hits a hard barrier at a speed of 15 km/h; the barrier covers 40 % of the front of the vehicle and stands at an angle of 10 degrees. The bumper and the components behind it on one side have to dissipate the energy. Similarly, in a rear-end crash, a 1,400 kg barrier is driven against the stationary car. 

Since a stationary car is - unlike the barrier - deformable, the crash repair test corresponds to an accident involving a real vehicle travelling at approximately 25 km/h collision speed.

 

External video

This video is loaded in a YouTube player. This means that Google collects information about your use of the information provided and uses it for analysis and marketing purposes. However, if you would still like to view this video, you must change the cookie settings.


Open cookie settings


 

Both testing methods are aimed at covering typical, everyday accidents, and should hence not be confused with tests conducted to assess occupants' safety (ECE, NCAP), which have to address accidents of significantly higher, albeit considerably less frequent, degrees of accident severity, and are hence primarily focused on occupants' safety.

However, the positive results achieved in the laboratory have to also be reflected in good energy absorption demonstrated by the vehicles in a real accident. This is possible only if bumpers interact without sliding against each other. In this conjunction, an international working group (rcar.org), headed by the Allianz Center for Technology, hence developed a test which is aimed at ensuring the geometrical compatibility of various vehicles, and, in the experiment, also examines the interaction of the bumpers until the vehicles have come to a standstill.

This bumper test was defined in 2006, and has been binding since 2010 for the type classification of all vehicles newly introduced to the market. It is evaluated by an independent trustee in the classification process - in addition to the crash repair test.

For the bumper test, the minimum requirements for the bumper dimensions are first examined. If these requirements are satisfied, a test drive may be conducted. During the bumper test, the vehicle collides into the middle of a hard barrier while travelling at 10 km/h. The bumper should not slide over or under the barrier, and the components behind it, such as the expensive cooler or the rear panel, should not undergo any damage.

 

External video

This video is loaded in a YouTube player. This means that Google collects information about your use of the information provided and uses it for analysis and marketing purposes. However, if you would still like to view this video, you must change the cookie settings.


Open cookie settings



The bumper test has been established as a standard throughout the world (rcar.org). Unlike the more spectacular experiments for the evaluation of occupants' safety (ECE, NCAP), this test addresses more frequent, everyday accidents, and is aimed at reducing costs.

"In developing crash test standards, the Allianz Center for Technology has a significant influence on the crash performance of modern vehicles at low and medium collision speeds. This helps avoid unnecessary repair costs. Ultimately, this reduces the vehicles' running costs."

 

Dr. Christoph Lauterwasser, Managing Director AZT Automotive GmbH

Road safety - the relevant crash tests

The Allianz Center for Technology does not only play an active role in improving repairability.

It is also dedicated to increasing road safety, for example, by providing Allianz customers with pertinent information. Do you know, for example, how to secure you dog properly? Or what could happen if you rest your feet on the dashboard? In such contexts, demonstration crashes are conducted in order to highlight the problems and raise awareness amongst car-drivers.

In practice, these experiments are aimed at demonstrating the forces involved in an accident and the consequences. These instructive tests are performed and published with regard to issues such as securing cargo, travelling with dogs in the car, the proper use of seatbelts and airbags, as well as fan processions and cycling.

Protect yourself and any passengers entrusted to your care!

External video

This video is loaded in a YouTube player. This means that Google collects information about your use of the information provided and uses it for analysis and marketing purposes. However, if you would still like to view this video, you must change the cookie settings.


Open cookie settings


Securing dogs in the vehicle

Dogs are the most loyal companions on every journey – so protect your best friend!

As a matter of fact, dogs are regarded as cargo in the sense of the German road traffic regulations and must be secured during the journey. The market offers various systems for this purpose and the Allianz Center for Technology AZT has tested samples for their practical suitability and crash safety using dog dummies. In most cases, the different securing systems are more uncomfortable for the dog owner in terms of handling than for the dog itself.

A safety system not only helps the dog to find a safe and comfortable position in the vehicle during normal driving manoeuvres, but also during emergency braking or evasive manoeuvres. Thus most dogs get used to it quickly to stay more relaxed during the journey. Hence the driver is also less distracted by the dog. An unsecured dog, however, can move freely in the vehicle, cannot find a secure foothold, can obstruct the driver's view and distract him dangerously.

Finally, in the event of an accident, an unsecured dog is not only considerably endangered itself, it also precipitates a serious risk of injury for the occupants due to its mass and the enormous physical forces. After an accident, an unsecured dog in a frightened, possibly injured state, can endanger helpers and other road users. And also a dog trying to protect the owner can become a danger for helpers and car passengers.


The crash tests performed by AZT have impressively shown that dogs must be secured according to their size and weight. Dog owners should consider the following references:

  • The securing system (whether belt, harness or box) must bear a test certificate for crash safety according to ECE R17.
  • The securing system must be designed for the weight and size of the dog.
  • Read and understand the manufacturer's instructions on the safety system and how to use it appropriately.
  • The safest place for a dog is in a lashed and firmly closed dog transport box in the cargo area.
  •  The box must be secured with suitable lashing straps and must not load the backrest of the rear seat bench during normal operation.
  • The seat belts of unoccupied rear seats can be additionally fastened in order to absorb loads on the backrest in the event of an accident.
  • Only smaller dogs up to a maximum mass of 7 kg can be buckled up on the rear seat with  special belt and harness systems, because harnesses generally provide too much freedom of movement and can be harmful for the dog due to an excessive jerk when tightened in an accident.
  • For dogs up to medium weight and size there are crash-proof transport boxes for the rear seats available. These boxes can also be secured with additional straps or even better using Isofix mounts.
  • Drive carefully and with foresight.


Taking these AZT tips into account, your dog will hopefully be happy to accompany you in the vehicle as long and as safe as possible.

The AZT wishes you and your pet a safe journey!


External video

This video is loaded in a YouTube player. This means that Google collects information about your use of the information provided and uses it for analysis and marketing purposes. However, if you would still like to view this video, you must change the cookie settings.


Open cookie settings


Further Links

RCAR

Repair research


Repair costs constitute a large portion of claims costs in motor  insurance.  AZT investigates and supervises new developments in paint and bodywork repair with the aim of promoting professional and cost-effective repair solutions.

By repairing real-life vehicle damage, trained REFA experts (www.refa.de) analyze the repair times and material consumption according to established industry standards. Time studies are carried out both at the AZT and at independent external repair shops. The purpose of these tests is to determine the basis for calculating repair costs correctly.

The Allianz Center for Technology maintains a range of calculation systems and aids:

  • AZT paint calculation system to determine the cost of painting

  • AZT caravan and motor caravan calculation system

  • Calculation aid for panel beating, plastic repairs and spot repairs

These are available to users via the calculation software offered by many providers in the market.  Among others, we cooperate with Audatex, Autovista International AG, DAT and CAB. In particular, the calculation systems are used by experts, repair shops, Allianz companies and other insurers.

In addition, interested parties also have the option of subscribing to the AZT "Technische Mitteilungen", which summarize the results from research work and the collaboration with automobile and paint manufacturers and is published in the form of a loose leaf collection (AZT Technische Mitteilungen).

In addition, a catalog of vehicle repair studies involving repair work which is calculated according to the time required (REFA) and then compared to the calculation based on the panel-beating formula provides assistance when selecting a professional and economical method of repair. These repair examples are also available as part of the subscription.

Apart from the integration of the AZT information in the Audatex calculation system, the data is also offered on the information platform Repair-Pedia.

The AZT paint calculation system

Since its introduction in 1977, the AZT paint calculation system has established itself as the leading, manufacturer-independent international standard for the calculation of paintwork, and is used in more than 35 countries all over the world - and this trend is growing.

The materials and methods currently used for repair paint jobs form the basis of the paint calculation system. New vehicle models are regularly added to the system, and values are updated frequently. New materials and methods are examined, and are taken into account in accordance with their market importance.



The users of this system receive:

  • all necessary information relating to processing time and expenditure, quickly and simply

  • calculation values for passenger vehicles, off-road vehicles and transport vehicles included in the system

  • the amount of time needed to complete the paint repair, in hours

  • the current paint costs for the repair, in the respective national currency

The AZT paint calculation system covers over 4,000 models. Annually, more than 10 million paint jobs are calculated worldwide with the aid of the system.

Use of vehicle data for property and accident investigation

Modern motor vehicles store a range of event data in the case of a claim, such as an accident, breakdown or theft which is of high and increasing importance for the insurance company when processing claims. These event data from the vehicle can not only be used to reconstruct the course of an accident, check plausibility of damages and clarify liability issues but also to speed up the entire claims processing from notification to payment, making it more digital and customer-friendly. However, even for experts, it is currently not transparent in which vehicle models which data is recorded in which quality and how or whether this data is accessible, except to the vehicle manufacturer.

At present, both the UNECE (United Nations Economic Commission for Europe), the EU Commission and the individual countries are working on regulations on the recording of accident and incident data in the vehicle, on access options to vehicle data and on the forwarding of vehicle data to third parties. Numerous legal and technical issues arise in this context. The Allianz Centre for Technology contributes to the relevant committees, working groups and research projects by providing the technical basis for appropriate data parameters, event recognition by vehicle systems, data security and non-discriminatory access to this data.  The position of the Allianz on data and victim protection as well as on the safety of automated driving functions is of great importance and is taken into account in all discussions.  

The possible clarification of accidents and traffic offences involving automated vehicles in mixed traffic is a focus of future global regulations as well as of German legislation.  As a member of the informal IWG EDR/DSSAD working group of the UNECE, the Allianz Center for Technology actively supports the formulation of corresponding draft legislation.

You can find more details under the following links:

Principles of the data custodian procedure



Driver assistance systems and automated driving

Reverse-AEB test with a "soft vehicle target"

Driver assistance systems make a considerable contribution towards improving road safety. The accident research department at the Allianz Center for Technology (AZT) has been analyzing their potential through multiple research projects over the past decade (e.g. AKTIV, TRACE, euroFOT), and has made a significant contribution towards the inclusion of effective driver assistance systems in the calculation of insurance premiums in many countries (e.g. autonomous emergency braking, AEB). Claims submitted to Allianz relating to motor liability and bodily injury form the basis for the evaluation of this potential. Several claims databases allow the AZT to continuously carry out prospective and retroactive evaluations, from the most minor instances of physical loss or damage, up to the most serious bodily injuries, examining them in relation to driver assistance systems in terms of navigation, steering and stabilization.

Current topics and research projects on all aspects of driver assistance systems and automated driving:

Electromobility

Since the early years of the new millennium, the Allianz Center for Technology has analyzed the repairability as well as safety aspects of electric and hybrid vehicles, subsumed under the term "high-voltage vehicles".

AZT is specifically involved in the following fields of research:

  • deformation behavior

    • protection of expensive components (battery, power electronics, wiring etc.) in moderately serious accidents

    • crash management ⇔ lightweight construction

  • repairability 

    • safety regulations (qualification, equipment)

    • working positions repair shop

    • potential additional costs: new working positions (e.g.creation of a voltage-free status, dismantling/shifting of components)

    • battery repair

  • the statistical observation of the damage situation

    • specific features of the damage

    • fire risk

    • damage caused by martens

In addition to crash tests and repair attempts with high-voltage vehicles, for example, experiments involving the effects of temperature on high-voltage batteries and comprehensive statistical investigations with regard to damage situations have also been conducted. Since the field of electromobility is seeing the emergence of new vehicle manufacturers who do not dispose of substantial experience, in particular, with regard to the insurance classification, AZT also offers cooperation initiatives of an advisory nature.

 

Electromobility was the guiding theme of a symposium organized on behalf of the Association of German Insurers (GDV) in 2009, as well as during the "Allianz Autotag" (annually press event) in 2012 and 2017.

 

Networks and IT security

In the course of digitalization, the global networking of systems and functions and the assessment of the risks this poses are increasingly coming to the fore - and this applies to the automotive industry as well. The new forms of technology in vehicles do not have to only function smoothly without any technical glitches, but they also have to be evaluated in terms of IT security. This gives rise to completely new challenges such as the forensic evidence of risks which arise through attacks and manipulation and may make the interfaces to the outside world insecure. 

In this context, AZT is currently taking an in-depth look at two questions in particular:

1. Analysis and risk assessment of newly networked functions, such as virtual vehicle keys.

AZT has analyzed the potential ecosystem "Virtual Vehicle Keys", addressed the existing and new potential risks and attack vectors, and formulated the requirements with regards to virtual vehicle keys.

The requirements are to serve as guidelines for the handling of networked and security-critical functions in a loss event from the insurer's perspective, and, at the same time, to assist the automotive manufacturers with the technical design of the system and its protection against misuse.

2. IT security in networked vehicles

Attacks on the wiring system of a networked vehicle may jeopardize the comfort, property and safety of the passengers, as well as threaten economic interests.

Within the scope of a long-term, interdisciplinary cooperation project with the private research institution InS³  headed by Prof. Dr. Rudolf G. Hackenberg, professor at Ostbayerische Technische Hochschule (OTH) in Regensburg, these digital risks are examined, and threats as well as attack methods analyzed in terms of IT security.


Ecosystem Virtual Vehicle Key

Road safety

According to the statistics of the World Health Organization (WHO), every year more than 1.35 million people across the world die in road traffic accidents, and up to 50 million are injured. In Germany, over 3,000 people lose their lives as a result of road-traffic accidents. The risk is high particularly for unprotected road users - pedestrians and cyclists.

 Long-term road-safety research and road-safety work have always been indispensable in ensuring safe mobility on our streets and protecting people from injury. For almost 50 years now, AZT has been supporting this development via its own studies, committee work and safety campaigns. In this conjunction, the focus is, at all times, on the interaction in the human-vehicle-environment system, and safety is understood as the outcome resulting from safe people, safe vehicles and a safe environment.

 To this end, accident research at AZT analyzes, in detail, vehicle damage using representative random checks from insured claims by addressing manifold questions. For example, this allows information to be gleaned on the course of events leading to an accident or the severity of injuries, and research may be conducted with regard to the frequencies of certain types of accidents or prevention potential. The investigations range from minor P&C damage to accidents resulting in extremely severe bodily injuries involving cars, trucks, motorcycles or other classes of vehicle. With the aid of collision tests, analytical case studies on accidents, survey studies and statistical evaluations, the safety research conducted at AZT sheds light on biomechanical problems, the interaction between humans and machines as well as on the conduct of road users. The focus here lies on groups who are especially at risk, such as senior citizens and young drivers, and on the risk behavior displayed by car drivers as in the case of distractions for example.


 

Topics are, amongst others:

  • accidents involving trucks and goods vehicles

  • large losses involving cars

  • accidents involving agricultural vehicles

 

Die Sicherheitsforschung im AZT beleuchtet in Aufprallversuchen, unfallanalytischen Fallarbeiten, Befragungsstudien und statistischen Auswertungen Probleme der Biomechanik, der Mensch-Maschine-Interaktion und des Verhaltens der Verkehrsteilnehmer. Im Fokus stehen hier besonders gefährdete Gruppen wie Senioren oder junge Fahrer und das Risikoverhalten der Autofahrer wie etwa die Ablenkung.

 

Topics are, amongst others:  

 

External video

This video is loaded in a YouTube player. This means that Google collects information about your use of the information provided and uses it for analysis and marketing purposes. However, if you would still like to view this video, you must change the cookie settings.


Open cookie settings


"Schon Gewusst? - Der tote Winkel"

 

The insights gained from the AZT research on road safety are not only incorporated in measures and recommendations for damage prevention, but also serve the product development at Allianz companies in the interests of the customers. Auto liability, accident or fleet insurances may be oriented to the needs and risks of the road users. Via cross-company and international working groups and projects, results also contribute towards improved norms and standards as well as official positions and requirements put forward by safety committees and associations.  Amongst others, the AZT experts also collaborate on the drafting of resolutions for adoption by the German Road Safety Council (DVR).

 

Accident analysis at AZT

BioRid Dummy for rear impact tests

The Allianz Center for Technology supports the accident analysis, the technical non-sales staff and the mobile claims service of Allianz with accident-analysis issues with regard to occupant safety, plausibility and compatibility, as well as in respect of especially complex loss events. These loss events are reconstructed and simulated or even "retraced" in experiments using state-of-the-art software.

 Moreover, studies on current issues in accident analysis, accident reconstruction and occupant safety are published on a regular basis. The insights gained from these studies are then passed on both internally and externally during workshops, training seminars for experts, congresses and conferences.


 

These investigations cover the following areas:

  • occupant safety with focus on cervical spinal distortion

  • accidents with unprotected road users

  • general liability claims

  • minor collisions involving cars

  • cargo securing (Video)

 

Ladungssicherung

Training at AZT: further training for Allianz experts and international transfer of know-how

The dynamic change in the area of vehicle technology has considerable impact on auto insurance, risk assessment and the repairs industry. At the same time, digitalization has given rise to new processes in the fields of claims management and drafting of expert opinions. These trends entail particular challenges for experts, and constant further training and education constitute key performance factors in daily practice.

 

Allianz possesses one of the largest expert organizations in the insurance sector, and one of AZT's main tasks is to provide them with timely and professional further training and education. Approximately 400 Allianz experts, alongside other target groups, are regularly trained at AZT through the use of a comprehensive further training program which focuses equally on the conventional areas of vehicle repair as well as on the current trends in the automotive sector. This ensures a direct transfer of know-how from AZT's research and other up-to-date sources into the daily claims processing for our customers.

The diverse range of topics includes, amongst others, the following general areas:

  • Body and paintwork repairs

  • Sensor calibration

  • Requirements and processes in claims assessment and calculation

  • Modern vehicle technology, e.g. high voltage vehicles, assistance systems and IT security  

 

 

Additional seminars also regularly take place covering special topics, such as:

  • Claims assessment and maintenance of mobile homes, HGVs and buses

  • Additional topics, e.g. communication


The AZT is also part of international networks and promotes the exchange of knowledge between Allianz's international automotive and claims experts. Within this framework, the AZT initiates and organizes annual events such as "Train the Trainer" or the "AZT Summit", at which internationally relevant innovations and developments are discussed and best practice approaches in the area of claims management are presented.