Let us imagine that you are in
a car and you know you are about to hit something. If you are the driver,
you’re likely to hit the brakes and turn the wheel, that is, if you have a
great presence of mind. And if you’re a passenger, aware of what’s about to
happen, your instinct is to brace yourself for impact.
These changes in posture –
relaxed or braced – aren’t something physical crash test dummies can copy, but
Toyota has produced new software for its THUMS virtual human modelling that
replicates these kinds of pre-collision reactions. Now you know what it means
when someone calls you a dummy!
The latest version of THUMS
adds a muscle modelling feature that can simulate the body attitude of
different vehicle occupants, from relaxed to braced, allowing for more detailed
computer analysis of the injures collisions can cause.
Until now, THUMS could only
simulate changes in posture after a collision has happened, but the new Version
5 model allows changes prior to an impact to be scrutinised. This means the
performance of seatbelts, airbags and other safety equipment can be studied
more accurately, as well as more advanced pre-collision systems. The
intelligence gained will help in the development of new safety technologies
that can provide better occupant protection.
THUMS Version 5 has already
been adopted by dozens of businesses, including vehicle and parts
manufacturers, and is contributing to vehicle safety research worldwide.
By simulating many
characteristics of different parts of the human body, from its overall shape to
bones and skin, THUMS enables detailed analysis of the kind of injuries that
can occur in a vehicle collision, such as fractures and severed ligaments.
Toyota began development of
THUMS in 1997, working with Toyota Central R&D Labs. Version 1 was launched
in 2002, followed by Version 2 in 2004, which added face and bones to the
model; Version 4 in 2006, with a precise brain model; and Version 4 in 2010,
which gained detailed modelling of internal organs.