Humanetics Develops Elderly Crash Dummy for Vehicle Safety Testing

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Professional Services Close-Up

December 22, 2017

Humanetics reported the introduction of its newest crash test dummy designed to meet the characteristics of the growing senior population, has officially entered advanced testing for vehicle safety systems.

According to a media release, the new elderly dummy represents a breakthrough in vehicle testing technology, offering vehicle manufacturers, regulators and other industry groups the ability to design and test safer vehicle structures, interiors, seats, airbags, and safety belts specifically for the more vulnerable, older drivers and passengers. Several automotive OEMs and Tier One suppliers, including Honda and Autoliv, have already begun conducting tests of their vehicle safety systems using Humanetics’ elderly crash test dummy.

As the first of its kind, the elderly crash test dummy is expected to change how the vehicle safety community measures impact responses in crash events. While the industry has used crash test dummies representing the average younger male and female occupants for years, Humanetics designed the new elderly dummy to reflect the biofidelic nature of a 70-year-old female, 161 cm in height and 73 kg (to be consistent with metric unit) in weight. “At Humanetics, our mission is to create products that save lives. We developed the elderly crash test dummy to provide better protection for one of the most vulnerable population groups in a vehicle crash,” said Christopher J. O’Connor, President and CEO of Humanetics.

Over the past few decades, the driving population has changed significantly in age and weight. People are living more sedentary lifestyles, and advances in medical technology have resulted in people living longer. In particular, baby boomers are now in their 60s and 70s and are often heavier than they were on average just a few decades ago, yet healthy enough to be driving into their 80s and even 90s. In 2015, there were more than 40 million licensed drivers aged 65 and older in the United States (U.S. Department of Transportation). This represents nearly one in every five drivers on American roads. Research has shown that elderly occupants are more likely to sustain internal injuries during certain crash scenarios. 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 647 injured in crashes on average every day.

“Humanetics is closely involved in research programs such as the SENIORS project funded by the European Union to address similar types of concerns in other regions of the world. We strive to collaborate with all safety organizations worldwide to develop products that best reflect the current population where safety is an issue,” commented O’Connor. “Ultimately, we are committed to promoting vehicle safety and saving lives in every global market and geographic region until fatality rates equal zero.”

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