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Next-Gen Crash Test Dummies Will Simulate Obesity, Old Age

Motor Trend logo Motor Trend 10/28/2014 Karla Sanchez

As vehicle crash tests and regulations continue to evolve, so too do crash test dummies. Dummies have already evolved from basic replacements for cadavers to sophisticated tools, and they're about to change with the times once again by packing on the pounds.


That's because companies like Humanetics, the world's leading producer of crash test dummies, recognize they need to accommodate the growing number of overweight drivers. "Obese people are 78 percent more likely to die in a crash," Humanetics CEO Chris O'Connor told CNN. The reason they have a higher risk of injury is because most weight is gained in the body's middle range, which causes overweight people to get out of position in a typical seat. In an effort to help analyze what goes wrong in the event of an accident, Humanetics is now in the process of developing an obese dummy, with the earliest prototype weighing 273 lbs and with a body mass index of 35. Volvo Crash Testing© Provided by MotorTrend Volvo Crash Testing

In addition, the company is also trying to develop a dummy that can replicate age. Like obese people, those older in age have a higher risk of being seriously injured in a crash. The risk increases 20 percent in 50-year-olds, and 40 percent at age 80. The company hopes to have a prototype by 2015, but that's not all. Humanetics is also rolling out the next generation of dummies with the most advanced sensitivity yet. These new dummies have more measurement capabilities like shoulder loads, so that researchers can do a better job of predicting injury.Volvo Crash Test© Provided by MotorTrend Volvo Crash Test

Vehicle manufacturers are also looking into developing virtual scenarios, which could work better by allowing researchers to look at more specific anatomy. This could be a more efficient and less expensive way of vehicle crash testing, considering dummies can cost $500,000 each.

Source: CNN

Group Of Crash Test Dummies Screen Shot© Provided by MotorTrend Group Of Crash Test Dummies Screen Shot

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