Our cars have become safer and more secure: the number of traffic accidents in Germany has increased in recent years, while the number of accidents in which people are injured has remained stagnant. Experts discussed how cars can be made better and how accidents can be prevented at SafetyWeek 20 in Würzburg this week.
Crash test dummies can be used to find out what consequences an accident may have for occupants. These are life-size dolls equipped with up to 100 sensors. They are designed as closely as possible on the human body and have joints and ribs, for example, but no internal organs. They don’t look like real people. Only the face is indicated, some bodies are blue or red.
Crash test dummies make our cars safer for a long time
These crash test dummies have proven themselves for a long time: since the 1980s, vehicles have become much safer as a result. Because judging by the reviews, car manufacturers have started installing airbags, for example. BUT: Dolls have gone through a lot. At the time there was no female doll, and now ADAC is also testing with smaller and lighter ones.
Older people are especially vulnerable to car accidents
Young people react differently to seat belts or airbags. And now they want to go even further, says Volker Sandner, head of vehicle safety at Abu Dhabi Airports: Now the elderly also have to be shown. Because their fragile bodies are more susceptible to injury.
But testing with many different dolls is expensive – one one costs about a million euros! One solution might be to get into the virtual world: according to Sandner, you can think of any model you want there.
Crash test dummy of the future?
Niklas Schmidler of EDAG Engineering GmbH believes that in the future sitting in a car will not be necessary at all: “In the era of autonomous driving, we will look forward enough that accident scenarios do not occur accordingly.”
That’s why there is now a new generation of dolls: they’re not in the car, they’re on the road. E-scooters in particular pose a new danger. For example, the company 4active Systems GmbH is developing such dolls. They search accident databases to see which accidents happen most frequently. That is why there are now dolls such as pedestrians, small cars, motorcycles or e-scooters.
Computer simulation and self-driving
And think more about the future? Niklas Schmidler believes that once we get into autonomous driving, only the simulated test world will play a role. On the other hand, Volker Sandner believes that the classic doll will not disappear completely: simulations may contain arithmetic errors, for example. He believes that the foundation will always be a dummy in the test in the future.
“Here is Bavaria”: the new BR24 newsletter informs you of the most important things of the day at a glance, Monday through Friday after work – zipped and straight to your mailbox. Register here!