Under federal rules, it is a norm for the authorities to check new vehicles for their safety in case of an accident. Manufacturers, too, test their vehicles for different crash scenarios to tweak their designs accordingly for maximum protection of the driver.
Until recently, crash testing techniques have been fairly simple. Dummies would be placed on the driving seat of a given vehicle which would then be crashed against different objects, through different angles. However, the Head of Bioscience Group at University of Michigan Transportation Research Insitute, Matt Reed says, “With 33,000 people in the U.S. dying last year in collisions, there’s a disconnect between crash test results and what underserved people are experiencing in accidents.”
Reed and his team are trying to change this by making use of the latest gaming tech in crash testing. They are using scanners, commonly used by the video game industry, to simulate human body and build virtual models. These models are then used to assess the safety of a car during a crash.
The problem with generic crash testing is that it applies to a handful of people. What about a person who is more obese than normal or leaner or weaker? Most of the current crash testing fails to address that. Reed, however, says that his team is working on developing multiple models to accommodate different body dimensions and sizes.
The best part is that the gaming tech that Reed and his team are using in revolutionizing the crash testing methods is quite inexpensive, at least for the manufacturers. In his own words, “The cost of a full body scan is a tiny fraction, [relative] to developing a car.”