This might look like an ordinary car at first glance, but take a closer look, and you’ll notice that it’s something entirely different: a Guided Soft Target, also known as a GST for short.
Safety engineers use the GST to test safety features in many modern cars, such as automatic braking and automatic lane changing, and it’s more feasible than using two real cars because the GST doesn’t damage the test car and the GST can be deployed repeatedly rather than being destroyed with each collision.
Just like a regular car, the GST sports reflective headlight enclosures and a radar-sensitive exterior that another car’s safety sensors can detect. Engineers carefully assess safety features with new cars by crashing them into the GST with robotic drivers while GPS-assisted sensors gather pertinent information.
The GST is designed to be broken into several smaller pieces upon collision, but it can be reset as many times as it needs to be for the safety engineers to get everything right; this is particularly important since drivers put a lot of their faith into safety equipment that they’ll hopefully never need to use.
Many of the world’s most significant car developers use the GST in testing, or at least something like it.