Toyota Announces Four New Safety Projects
Toyota seeks to advance the creation of innovative auto safety technologies throughout the automotive industry, and on Tuesday, its Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) announced four new research projects. The goal for the projects, and for three new research partnerships, is to enhance safety for vulnerable populations, especially older people.
The new projects were chosen from numerous proposals CSRC considered during the past year, and will be undertaken by Toyota in collaboration with Virginia Tech, George Washington University, the University of Iowa, and the University of Virginia. They will focus on the further development of advanced crash-modeling technologies and better protecting vulnerable populations.
“We are proud to welcome our new research partners, whose important work promises to advance our understanding significantly in the areas of active safety, driver distraction and protecting the most at-risk drivers,” said Chuck Gulash, Senior Executive Engineer at the Toyota Technical Center and CSRC Director.
According to a Toyota press release:
Two new projects focus on crash modeling research, including a detailed computer model of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s (NHTSA) THOR-NT crash test dummy and a project to confirm the biofidelity and injury prediction capability of Toyota’s advanced Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) virtual human model in additional crash scenarios. These crash modeling technologies help researchers analyze millions of data points to better understand the mechanisms that cause injuries in car crashes, which helps inform the development of new safety technologies for airbags, seatbelt systems and vehicle body structures.
Other new research will examine pre-drive behavior, such as where feet are placed prior to beginning the drive to determine the influence on driver-vehicle interactions.
The final project, based on research in Japan that has found a high rate of abdominal injuries for older drivers involved in vehicle crashes, will study the relationship between the injuries and age. This research could lead to improved safety restraints, which will prove increasingly important given predictions that the percentage of the U.S. population over the age of 65 will almost double by 2040.
Christine Tierney reports in The Detroit News that on Monday, the Brain Trauma Foundation honored Toyota and two of its research partners, Virginia Polytechnic Institute and Wake Forest School of Medicine, for their studies on head injuries that occur in car accidents as well as on football fields. Tierney writes that the data the researchers collected from accelerometers attached to football players’ helmets led to the first safety ratings for helmets. Toyota is using that research to improve its virtual human crash-test dummies and to develop safety technologies to reduce head injuries.
Totoya launched the CSRC last January, with an initial investment of $50 million. The CSRC collaborates with a broad range of institutions to further automotive safety research. Since the CSRC was launched, Toyota has announced 17 research projects with 12 institutions. CSRC will publish as much of this research as possible to make it available to federal agencies, the industry, and academia, in keeping with its open model.
Image by Toyota, used under Fair Use: Reporting.