Did you ever wonder how can you be sure a car’s safety features will give you and your passengers the right protection, if an accident happens? Did you ever wonder if the seatbelts will keep you in place, if the airbags will prevent your head from hitting hard surfaces and how will the shock of impact affect your body – inside and out?
We have made great progress and crashed thousands of cars (both real and virtual) since we began developing our virtual crash test system in 1997.
We have created a family of virtual reality models called THUMS to help us better understand the effect of an impact on the human body and develop more advanced and effective equipment features to keep you safe from harm. We have already explained our rigorous approach to passive safety and the vital protection it gives you when a car accident happens. We have also showcased one of the results of our safety research – Toyota Safety Sense.
Today, let’s talk about child safety.
It’s not hard to guess that a seatbelt would restrain you differently than a three year old should an accident happen, so how would we test it so that we can be sure to protect our loved ones? This week, we have added three new models to represent children aged ten, six, and three to our virtual crash dummy software.
The ten-year old (138cm tall), six-year old (118cm tall) and three-year old (94cm tall) additions to THUMS represent the average body sizes of children at each respective age. As with the large male (189cm tall), average-build adult male (179cm tall), and small female (153cm tall) models that are already existing, the new models will come in two versions—a passenger version and a pedestrian version—for a total of six new additions to the THUMS line-up. This expanded line-up takes into consideration the influence of age and physique, and allows us perform more thorough injury analysis.
We’ve made our models commercially available and are happy that THUMS contributes to research on safety technologies not just at Toyota, but also at organizations all over the world. The THUMS model is now being used in safety research by other major car makers, such as Audi, Volvo, Renault and Daimler, and components and parts suppliers. It has also been put to good use to help design safer racing cars, including the famous FIA Formula One . Even the USA’s space exploration agency, NASA, has used it in the design process for Orion, a spacecraft that could lead the way for taking man to Mars…and shall the humanity move to Mars, we would like to take children with, wouldn’t we?