May 30, 2007

Ford recognized for advances in crash dummy technology

Yokohama, Japan – Ford Motor Company’s leading role in developing an abdominal insert for pediatric crash dummies was part of a technical presentation at the Society of Automotive Engineers of Japan’s Annual Congress in Yokohama, Japan last week. Each year, the spring gathering attracts hundreds of engineers from around the world and provides an opportunity for them to share their latest research and achievements related to automotive and secondary technologies.

Ford’s prototype pediatric abdominal insert is a collaborative effort with The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia; Wayne State University in Detroit; the University of Virginia; Dearborn-based STR Systems, a safety technology and research firm; and Takata Corporation, a global manufacturer of automotive safety systems.

The collaboration between Ford and the other organizations began in late 2003 in an effort to make pediatric crash dummies and crash tests more real world, and in turn, lead to the development of vehicle restraints that will improve the safety of children.
“The major focus has always been on head and chest injuries,” says Steve Rouhana, a senior technical leader with Ford’s Passive Safety Research and Advanced Engineering Department, of crash dummy testing. “But the lack of an abdomen is not just a matter of priority. We really didn’t have the technology before to accurately measure abdominal response.”

The prototype pediatric abdomen insert is similar in size and shape to a 6-year-old human’s and is constructed of a silicone shell made up of multiple lays of liquid silicone. Inside is an LED and optical sensor surrounded by a high-viscosity, red or blue silicone fluid. The complex sensors measure penetration based on the amount of light absorbed by the silicone fluid.

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