Crash test dummy tenses up before impact

July 07, 2015 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
Toyota has created a new generation of virtual THUMS (Total Human Model for Safety), aka crash test dummy. Like its predecessors, it is a digital model for the simulation of the human bone structure and takes into account the consistency of tissue, muscles and inner organs. As an innovation the current fifth THUMS generation makes it possible to simulate different body postures during subsequent phases of a collision.

Since about 2006, virtual crash test dummies complement the existing variety of “real” ones, enabling car developers to test the effect of a collision in the computer instead of destroying expensive cars (and sometimes even the test dummies) in real-world crashes. Toyota’s new digital dummy models utilize insights gathered from the analysis of real accidents, which show that about 50% of all drivers try to avoid an imminent collision through emergency braking or an abrupt evasive manoeuver. The driver as well as the other passengers of the vehicle react instinctively and adopt a tense attitude. This behavior influences the forces that affect these persons during the crash.

The new THUMS allow simulating and displaying the variety of potential attitudes. The detailed computer analysis gives information about the efficiency of the safety belts, airbags, and active safety systems such as the Pre-Collision System (PCS). Providing a more exact prognosis of potential injuries, it enables Toyota to further develop safety technologies to better protect the vehicle occupants. Also interested parties such as car OEMs or suppliers can use the new THUMS 5 simulation program.

The Japanese carmaker started to develop the THUMS crash test dummy family along with Toyota Central R&D Labs in 1997. To achieve realistic results, the virtual test persons are available in different sizes and with a variety of different weights. Over the years, more features have been added. The second THUMS generation already had a realistic face and an exact bone structure. In 2006 followed THUMS 3 which already contained a precise physical model of the human brain. Since 2010, also the inner organs are implemented, allowing the simulation and analysis of bone fractures, head injuries and other injuries car users can suffer through an accident.

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