Next generation crash test dummies test collision avoidance

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Crash test dummies get all the glory in safety testing. In the 1980s and 90s, Vince & Larry were practically television stars.

But not all safety testing takes place inside the vehicle. There’s an entire “team” of test dummies that have been completely ignored by the mainstream media and their roles in vehicle safety overlooked … until now.

Steve, a moving dummy developed through a partnership of Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center, Indiana University-Purdue University at Indianapolis (IUPUI) and Ohio State University, has the unenviable job of simply stepping out in front of a moving vehicle and waiting for impact.

Steve the pedestrian dummy readies for impact.Steve the pedestrian dummy readies for impact.

Steve stands in for a pedestrian crossing a road, and mimics different walking speeds and angles to allow for realistic testing situations.

Steve was developed through a study that used data from volunteers of all shapes and sizes (including children) to develop an advanced pedestrian mannequin. Toyota uses Steve to test its pre-collision systems that can help slow down or stop vehicles when they’re in danger of hitting something in front of them, including pedestrians.

The project that gave birth to Steve has been so successful at measuring the performance of pedestrian pre-collision systems that IUPUI has spun it off into a standalone company, and SAE International is adopting the mannequins as the baseline in its own work to develop overall standards for pedestrian PCS testing.

Toyota will begin using the pedestrian mannequins to test its own technology beginning in 2015.

Here’s to you, Steve.