|The BioRID ATD. Click to enlarge.|
General Motors, which has a long history of crash test dummy design, is leading current research on the potential for global auto industry use of a test dummy that would help automakers and safety experts better understand how crash victims are hurt in rear impacts.
The dummy, called BioRID (Biofidelic Rear Impact Dummy), was designed by Chalmers University in Gothenburg, Sweden in 1999 for seat restraint assessment, and is now manufactured by Humanetics Innovative Solutions. Its distinguishing feature is its vertebral column, which comprises 24 separate vertebra: 5 lumbar, 12 thoracic, and 7 cervical. A combination of torsion washers, urethane bumpers, and muscle-simulating springs provide biofidelic performance. The vertebral column is installed inside a silicone jacket featuring pin linkages to the vertebra and a water filled bladder in the abdominal region.
Evaluation, testing and improvement of BioRID dummies (anthropomorphic test devices, ATDs) has been ongoing since 1999, with dozens of papers published by SAE and others. To gain acceptance, BioRID needs to deliver repeatable, reproducible test results, which is considered integral to the design and evaluation of vehicle safety.
GM crash test engineer Barbara Bunn recently developed and conducted tests to evaluate the ability of different BioRIDs to produce consistent measurements when subjected to identical tests. The United States Council for Automotive Research in May recognized Bunn for her execution of the test matrix.
To create the test matrix, Bunn, who chairs the Occupant Safety Research Partnership’s Rear Impact Dummy Task Group, collaborated with engineers from Chrysler, Ford and Humanetics. She designed the construction of a crash simulator sled to simultaneously test four BioRIDs. She worked with safety engineers from Porsche, Volkswagen, Daimler, Chrysler and Ford to determine seating postures and other test criteria.
The tests subjected the dummies to a low-speed rear impact simulation in nearly identical seats, and collected measurements of crash forces on areas such as the upper and lower neck. The team compared its measurements to data from similar tests conducted by other automaker labs in Europe and provided its findings to regulators worldwide for consideration.
BioRid Final Report, Chalmers University, 1999