The Ford Motor Company and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) will embark this fall on an international study of a more lifelike, prototype abdominal insert for pediatric crash-test dummies.
The Ford Motor Company and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) will embark this fall on an international study of a more lifelike, prototype abdominal insert for pediatric crash-test dummies.. Click image to enlarge

Dearborn, Michigan – The Ford Motor Company and the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE) will embark this fall on an international study of a more life-like, prototype abdominal insert for pediatric crash-test dummies. This will help in analyzing the risk of serious injury to children during car crashes, where independent studies show that children aged four to eight are at higher risk for injuries to the spine and abdomen.

Ford developed the abdomen insert in conjunction with Dearborn-based safety technology research firm STR Systems, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia, Wayne State University in Detroit, the University of Virginia, and Takata Corporation, a global manufacturer of automotive safety systems.

The insert is similar in size and shape to that of a six-year-old child, and is made of multiple layers of liquid silicone that form a tough shell when solidified. Inside, a set of electrodes is immersed in a conductive fluid to create sensors for the abdomen. This pelvis is more human-like, reflecting the rounded shape of an average six-year-old.

“In a typical crash dummy, the pelvis area is very square,” said Dr. Steve Rouhana, senior technical leader with Ford’s Passive Safety Research and Advanced Engineering Department. “And when a safety belt interacts with this more square pelvis during a crash, it will catch almost every time. With a more realistic rounded pelvis, the belt may slip above the pelvic bone, which can be associated with abdominal injuries during a crash.”

Ford is also conducting global collaborative research and development activities in virtual human body modelling, to advance crash safety technology throughout the industry. The computer models, which represent human beings in minute detail, could help scientists determine and better understand injuries that are likely to result from a vehicle crash. This research, which has been ongoing for ten years, has already led to the creation of a full adult body model and is currently driving development of a child body model.

Connect with Autos.ca