US-based crash safety group Humanetics has developed a crash test dummy it hopes will improve road safety in the near future.
As technology has changed, the company has continually updated its equipment by adding new sensors capable of transmitting more accurate data.
But humans are changing as well, and now Humanetics has produced an ‘obese’ dummy to reflect expanding waistlines in many countries.
Using the ‘body mass index’, a healthy weight for an adult would give them a BMI score of between 18 and 25, but Humanetics’ new dummy weighs in at 124kg and has a BMI of 35.
Humanetics says obese occupants are 78 percent more likely to be killed during a collision, as the body-shape of overweight passengers puts them at odds with the shape of a standard car seat.
Age is also a factor in collision fatalities, with the risk factor increasing 20 percent for a 50 year-old and 40 percent for an 80 year-old.
Now that the obese dummy is complete, Humanetics hopes to add an ‘elderly’ dummy to its range by the end of next year.
"The idea of these new dummies is that they start to measure new types of load [such as] shoulder loads, they interact with restraints better," Centre For Injury Bio-Mechanicals’ Dr Joel Stitzel said, speaking with CNN.
"They have more measurement capabilities, so they can do a better job of predicting injury."
But Mr Stitzel believes computer modelling may soon render any crash test dummy obsolete, as the technology allows the user to make a human any size or shape and analyse virtual crash-test data.