Detroit Auto Makers, Parts Companies Team Up to Improve Safety Crash Tests

April 16, 2007

An international consortium of nine automakers and two parts suppliers is asking researchers for proposals to develop “virtual humans,” computer programs that will help them design safer cars and trucks.

The Global Human Body Models Consortium LLC says the computer models will provide better simulations of crash injuries than current crash dummies.

In an announcement scheduled for the Society of Automotive Engineers World Congress in Detroit, the companies say they have requested proposals from 40 research and university groups worldwide, and plan to create five centers of expertise for different parts of the body and two centers for full body models.

The companies which formed the consortium a year ago are DaimlerChrysler AG, Ford Motor Co., General Motors Corp., Honda Motor Co., Hyundai Motor Co., Nissan Motor Corp., PSA Peugeot-Citroen, Renault SA, Takata Corp., Toyota Motor Corp. and TRW Inc.

The consortium hopes to have the first six computer models, of small, medium and large males and females, developed by March 2011. The companies will share in the estimated cost of up to $18 million. Additional funding is being sought from other sources including the federal government and Michigan Economic Development Corp., the statement said.

Ford already has a computer model of a mid-sized adult male that it uses to develop car interiors and restraint systems, but the consortium would speed development of models for more body types, said Ford spokesman Said Deep.

The project will yield sophisticated data that would be backed up by physical tests, said GM spokesman Alan Adler.

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