March 9, 2005

Smart dummy should improve safety

Dearborn, Michigan – Working with colleagues from North America, Europe and Asia, Ford researchers have developed WorldSID (World Side Impact Dummy), the world’s most advanced crash test dummy. The dummy has been under development since 1997 and represents a new standard in safety technology.

Until now, crash dummies were developed on an individual basis and used to develop standard in each jurisdiction. As a result, crash test results differed around the globe, resulting in automakers undertaking multiple vehicle development programs, depending upon the market. WorldSID could conceivably save automakers billions of dollars due to standardized crash test results in all countries.

WorldSID contains 212 sensors and memory boards that record data more than 10,000 times a second.

“The dummy is the first to be able to collect 224 channels of data internally,” said Rita Scherer, tri-chairperson of the WorldSID Task Group. “There is no large bundle of cables that is required to connect to an external system. This also makes it easier to position the dummy similar to a human in the test, since there is not a big bundle of cables protruding from its back. The collection of data internally also assists in being able to collect more channels of dummy data because we are not limited to the capacity of the vehicle to carry large equipment. Most facilities have a maximum capacity of data channels they can collect, but since the dummy can collect its own data, it is not limited by the facility.”

“The biofidelity of the WorldSID is the best of any side impact dummy by far,” said Dr. Stephen Rouhana, senior technical leader, Passive Safety Research and Advanced Engineering for Ford. “Biofidelity is a measure of how well the dummy simulates a human being. A dummy must respond like a human to ensure that the information we get from it is truly representative of what would happen to a human being in a similar crash. For example, if the chest of the dummy crushes like a marshmallow in a crash, the dummy would almost always indicate that injury would occur in a crash test. In contrast, if the chest of the dummy crushes like a brick, the dummy would almost always indicate that no injury would occur in a crash test.”

WorldSID’s biofidelity scores an 8.3 on the ISO Biofidelity Rating Scale of 1-10, with 10 being the best. The next closest mid-male dummy, used for European regulation, is rated at 4.4. The U.S.-regulated dummy rates 2.3. WorldSID’s superior design is due in part to the use of new technologies and materials, some of which were not available for use in older dummy designs. WorldSID’s ribs, for example, achieve human-like deflection performance via a super-elastic nickel-titanium alloy.

Testing has included nearly 1,000 whole-dummy biofidelity, vehicle and component tests, in 16 different labs and agencies in at least 10 different countries, including Canada, Japan, Australia and the United States. WorldSID made its official debut last June at a meeting of the Working Party on Passive Safety at the United Nations in Geneva, and was selected as one of Popular Science Magazine’s “2004 Best of What’s New” in the December 2004 issue.

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