Toyota Refines Crash Test Analysis for Autonomous Functions

Toyota says it has refined its latest generation crash testing analysis system to model accident scenarios in cars using autonomous driving at Level 3.

Its THUMS (Total Human Model for Safety), its software program for computer simulation system, developed and evolved along with the changes in modern safety systems since 1997, claims to take account of changes in people’s posture when taking advantage of automated driving systems.

It claims to address the changes in vehicle occupants’ when automated driving is activated, for example, when the car automatically carries out most of the driving tasks, allowing the driver to sit back and relax. When a person is in a reclined position, the body reacts different with the seat and restraint systems. Even when they are sitting up, the change in posture can lead to significantly different effects in the event of an impact, causing different types of injury.

The latest Version 7 of THUMS also claims improved modelling of the human body – men, women and children – with more accurate rendering of the geometry and properties of key body parts, including the pelvis, abdominal organs, spine and ribs. The program can further predict the impact on human bones, organs and muscles, when vehicle occupants are in a reclined position, and reproduce how people will change their position and brace muscles when maneuvering a vehicle in an emergency, or when safety systems such as a emergency braking and steering control kick in.

The new capabilities allow for even more precision in the computerized crash simulations, helping in the development of more effective safety provisions. Sabine Compigne, technical manager in Toyota’s R&D safety research operations, explained: “Special attention must be paid to ensuring that the pelvis remains in the seat at the time of a crash. This is crucial to avoid the ‘submarine effect’ where the occupant slides out from under the lap belt, risking abdominal injuries. Good pelvis retention helps to limit compression on the spine and thus prevent spinal injuries.”

— Paul Myles is a seasoned automotive journalist based in Europe. Follow him on Twitter @Paulmyles_

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