These are the most expensive and sophisticated crash test dummies in the world.
Some of them cost the same as a hypercar, but they’re very tough.
They can be hit again and again, and ‘get back to work’ the next day.
There are over 6 million car crashes per year in the US alone and automakers are trying everything they can to make their cars safer in case there’s an accident
In order to do that, they employ the world’s most high-tech crash test dummies to simulate damage that would occur to the human body.
Some of the crash test dummies we’re showing you today can cost up to $1 million.
According to Chris O’Connor, CEO of tech company Humanetics, that’s actually not a lot.
“It sounds like a lot,” O’Connor said. “But these crash test dummies can last for 25 or 30 years and they’re extremely complex.”
When you break down the cost considering how many crashes they can sustain, it actually “comes out to a few cents on each vehicle.”
Different types of dummies serve different purposes.
Let’s start with ‘World Sid’, a dummy designed to mirror our body’s response inside a vehicle during a side impact.
Sid has more than 200 electronic sensors, designed to assess the potential damage to our body with and without safety features such as airbags and seat belts.
Sid (Side Impact Dummy) is designed with a strong focus on neck and head injury that can occur in a side impact – it costs around $400,000.
Next is Thor, a dummy designed for front impact crash simulations.
This dummy is even more expensive, as it costs anywhere between $500,000 and $1 million.
It takes around six months to build and consists of over 30,000 parts.
The key feature of Thor is that his body movements are biofidelic, which is industry jargon for ‘human-like’.
In a crash, our limbs, neck and head flap around uncontrollably due to the force of the impact.
Thor is designed to simulate these movements and prevent injuries that would come from them.
It weighs 76.6 kg (168 lbs) and is around 175 cm (5’9”) tall, basically like an average human being.
Its body is made of a combination of metals, foam, rubber, vinyl and different plastics.
Thor also has sensors that react just like our nerves by providing data on which body parts suffer the most serious injuries.
There are two versions of Thor – 50m and 5F.
The former is designed to replicate the anatomy of a male body, while the latter has a ‘female’ body.
The two dummies are designed differently to account for differences in height, bone density, fat distribution and muscle structure.
Also, statistically, women tend to sit closer to the steering wheel, which means thee frontal injuries tend to be more severe.
Humanetics has also created other types of crash test dummies for children of different age groups and for adults who are significantly taller or overweight, and even for elderly people.
Last but not definitely least are pedestrian dummies.
These provide crucial data regarding the impact of cars and motorcycles on a pedestrian, and they’re also used to test safety features such as automatic braking.
Crash test dummies were originally created for the airspace industry, and they’re still a thing.
Even NASA uses them.
Further, even armed forces use dummies and they call them Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin or WIAMan for short.
These dummies are placed in military vehicles that are driven over explosive devices.
The hardest part is making these dummies as ‘human’ as possible, but they have to be durable to survive hundreds of crashes.
After being constructed, each dummy has to be tested and certified.