Humanetics Designs an Elderly Crash Test Dummy to Better Protect Vulnerable Drivers

PLYMOUTH, Mich.–(BUSINESS WIRE)–Developments over the past decades have resulted in very advanced
dummies like THOR and WorldSID for frontal and side impact applications.
Like their predecessors however, these dummies are still based on
anthropometry of what was considered a “healthy, average” adult mid-size
male and small female population in the 1970’s. Over the past few
decades however, the driving population has changed significantly in age
and weight; As lifestyles and medical advancement evolve with time,
industrialized world baby boomers are now 65 and older and often
overweight, and are still driving and leading active lifestyles.

Statistically, there were more than 40 million licensed drivers aged 65
and older in the United States in 2015 (U.S. Department of
Transportation). This represents 18.4% – or nearly one in every five
drivers – on the American roads. In 2014, more than 5,700 older adults
were killed and more than 236,000 were treated in emergency rooms for
motor vehicle crash injuries. This amounts to 16 older adults killed and
648 injured in crashes on average every day.

It should not come as a surprise that anatomically, an elderly person is
built very differently compared to someone younger, and therefore will
likely sustain very different injuries during a crash. In response,
Humanetics has embarked on a project to realize an ATD design to reflect
the anthropometry of an elderly 70 year old small female driver by using
research conducted by ICAM (International Center for Automotive
Medicine) and UMTRI (University of Michigan Transportation Research
Institute). Utilizing the anthropomorphic data provided by UMTRI, some
hardware cues from the small female WorldSID coupled with a newly
designed organ system concept, the Elderly ATD will allow more precise
measurements of internal injuries sustained in automotive accidents for
this specific occupant group. “As the demographics of the driving
population continues to evolve, our crash test dummies and the test
equipment that we design & manufacture must continue to evolve at the
same rate,
” says Mr. Christopher J. O’Connor, President & CEO of
Humanetics. “Let’s not forget the more vulnerable drivers on the road
and provide a product that the car manufacturers, government agencies
and research groups around the world can use to design and test a safer
car for people of all sizes and ages,
” he added.

In order to understand the dynamic properties of internal human organs
such as the liver and spleen, Humanetics is working closely with ICAM to
define anatomical features and verify performance attributes with
real-world injury feedback. “The condition, size and shape of an
individual is hugely important in how severe their injuries are in any
given crash,
” Michigan Medicine trauma surgeon Stewart Wang, M.D.,
Ph.D. states. To further understand loading parameters and organ
responses, comparison work is also being conducted at Humanetics using
biological equivalents. In addition, Humanetics is applying the first of
its kind 3D printing technology on the Elderly ATD to research and
develop new methods of production that have more precise response
characteristics over traditional manufacturing methods.

Safety minded consumers will strongly consider crash test star rating in
the selection of a vehicle, but they might not always understand that
the ATD used in government or consumer testing does not necessarily
conform to their own body and/or age group and how that might
potentially affect the outcome of a crash. “We are very pleased with
the advancement of safety features in cars today as we have come a long
way, but it can’t stop until we eliminate fatalities on our highways
” says Mr. O’Connor.

Parallel to the initiatives running in North America, Humanetics is also
closely involved in research programs such as the SENIORS (Safety
ENhancing Innovations for Older Road userS) project funded by the EU –
to address similar type of concerns in other regions of the world. It is
Humanetics’ goal to collaborate with other safety organizations
worldwide to develop products that best reflect the current population,
which car manufacturers and restraint suppliers can use as research and
design tools to build the safest cars possible for every occupant,
regardless of body type and age.

About Humanetics

Humanetics Innovative Solutions, a division of Safety Technology
Holdings, Inc., is a global company whose strategy is to harness the
best of today’s technologies for the creation of high-quality products
which play an important role in improving safety, comfort and protection
of people and their environment. Humanetics is the world’s leading
supplier in the design and manufacture of sophisticated crash test
dummies, safety related test equipment, instrumentation, technical
support and calibration services. Furthermore, Humanetics develops and
supplies finite element software dummy models for computerized crash
test simulations and specializes in static and dynamic strain
measurements. For additional information on Humanetics, visit


Humanetics Innovative Solutions
Lin Pan
Telephone: 1 734 451
Cell: 1 734 446 3076