Inclusive crash test dummies
In research, design, simulations, and physical crash tests, there appears to be a lack of inclusivity in the design and use of crash test dummies (https://genderedinnovations.stanford.edu/case-studies/crash.html#tabs-1). Prior to the ADSEAT project, “No one in the crash testing area has either outlined the specifications for the average female or implemented these in a virtual crash test dummy. We have done both.” (https://ec.europa.eu/programmes/horizon2020/en/news/important-new-model-car-safety). Volvo has also made advancements in inclusivity with their 3D simulation model of a pregnant woman whose body size can be scaled to the different stages of pregnancy (https://www.media.volvocars.com/global/en-gb/media/pressreleases/4982). Progress has also been made on the Virtual project with the creation of ‘EvaRID’ the first virtual average female model of a dummy (https://projectvirtual.eu/2021/02/19/why-are-there-no-crash-test-dummies-that-represent-average-women/), and there is also hope of developing a fully-fledged female crash test dummy in the future (https://sciencenordic.com/cars-and-traffic-crash-test-dummies-forskningno/gender-equality-for-crash-test-dummies-too/1381623).
To address inclusivity in physical crash testing dummies, various areas would require attention, such as female and male crash test dummies having different types of structures to mimic the differences in their anatomy, to ensure accurate safety evaluation in a crash such as females having smaller, weaker necks, and males having larger, stronger necks. Variation in body size/build is also under represented, as is individuals with limited mobility, and differences in posture (e.g. older adults). We can begin to explore the design of more inclusive crash test dummies (please see Image 1) with exploration into a modular and adjustable design, however, the area of inclusivity is vast, with potential for design exploration into all areas of the body.
Areas of design exploration in inclusive crash test dummies (that are physical or virtual) could include exploring the effects of driving with health conditions such as arthritis, diabetes, osteoporosis, or injuries such as having a frozen shoulder. We can start to ask and address the questions around how limited mobility, health conditions, and injuries effect driving.
Do you, or somebody that you know, have any experiences of driving with limited mobility, injury, or health conditions etc. that you would like to share?
Are there any areas in driving safety evaluations and testing that you feel are unexplored or under represented?