Security barriers put to the test as vehicles become weapons

A controlled environment for a real-world issue
Posted at 12:33 PM, Sep 23, 2017
and last updated 2017-09-23 12:33:41-04

Recent vehicle attacks carried out by terrorists across the globe—and even non-terror related incidents involving vehicles—have sparked interest in security bollards. But it’s not just for use in preventing terror attacks.

Bollards—those usually waist-high pillars that are often made out of a combination of carbon, steel or cement—are being seen just about everywhere these days, from sports arenas to the parking lots of convenience stores.

“You are at risk when you eat lunch, where you work, you are at risk when you are walking in front of a storefront,” says a security expert and consultant for bollard manufacturer Calpipe.

Calpipe put these types of bollards to the test at Texas A&M’s Transportation Institute. The Now was on the hot concrete of this former Air Force based-turned laboratory in Bryan, Texas, as researchers measured how well the bollards held up with a dummy vehicle going at speeds of 10, 20, and 30 miles per hour.

The vehicle is outfitted with special sensors so that once the data is downloaded they can tell exactly how much damage was done to a vehicle and how well the bollards performed.

“At first glance, it looks like we’ve passed this test,” Calpipe engineer Samuel Lloyd said following one such test of a vehicle traveling at ten miles per hour.

Calpipe is hoping for a certain type of rating from A&M to be able to assure their clients that they’ll have protection at vehicles traveling at speeds of up to 30 miles per hour.