Toyota updates crash test simulation for automated driving
Toyota has added new features to its long-established crash test simulation software to take account of the changes in people’s postures while travelling in automated vehicles.
According to the Japanese motor company, the latest version of its software programme Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) comes with improved modelling for men, women and children and has been designed to give a more accurate prediction of what will happen in a crash.
Occupants of automated driving systems are more likely to sit in a relaxed, reclined position, causing the body to react differently with the seat and restraint systems, Toyota said.
According to the carmaker, even when passengers are sitting upright, the change in posture can lead to “significantly different effects in the event of an impact, causing different types of injuries.
To this end, its software programme, THUMS version 7, claims to predict the impact on human bones, organs and muscles when occupants are in a reclined position and reproduce how people will change their position and brace muscles in an emergency braking and or steering situation.
The programme also claims to come with more accurate rendering of key body parts including the pelvis, abdominal organs, spine and ribs.
Toyota’s technical manager of the firms R&D Safety Research operations division, Sabine Compigne, added that in automated vehicles special attention must be paid to ensure 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,” Compigne added.
Toyota has made the principles of its THUMs programme (which was first developed over 25 years ago and has gone through various iterations ever since) available for safety research in other transport fields, such as trains and aviation.
Digital twin and simulation company Altair has predicted that the car industry may bid a final farewell soon to physicist Samuel Alderton’s original physical crash test dummies, which have been used in the automotive industry since the late Sixties.
Meanwhile, the UK government is working on version of the Highway Code so that the first wave of automated vehicle driving technology can be used safely.
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