GM uses talking crash test dummies to ensure vehicle safety

Talking Crash Test Dummies

The normal everyday car owner is probably unaware of all the safety tests his/her vehicle goes through before ending up in their driveway. Ensuring the best quality in safety has led to the development of advanced test dummies that can actually talk.

At General Motors’ Anthropomorphic Test Device (ATD) lab, new “hyper-tech” dummies talk in “hyper-speed”, recording and transmitting crash data 10,000 times a second. Over 200 crash test dummies of all shapes and sizes are wired with 70-80 sensors each that tell safety engineers how much and what kind of forces they endure during crash tests. To come as close as possible to reality, the dummies come in the form of men and women range in size from a large adult to a small toddler. The price tag for the most sophisticated dummy can approach $500,000.

“We design these test dummies so that they mimic real life,” said Jack Jensen, GM safety engineer and Technical Fellow. “Data from the dummies helps us predict the risk of injury in a real crash. The more realistic the dummy, the more accurate the test results.”

Jensen and his team have helped the cars like the 2011 Buick Regal become a Top Safety Pick by the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety.

“Most people don’t realize that the Hybrid III dummy, still used in most frontal crash tests, was created by a group of biomechanical scientists at General Motors who were pioneers in their field of vehicle safety,” says Jensen.

– By: Omar Rana