Digital crash test baby to be delivered

Ford is about to give birth to a baby with a difference – it has begun research into creating a digital baby that could someday serve as a digital dummy for computer crash testing.

According to Dr Steve Rouhana, senior technical leader for safety, Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, this could have a major impact on safety for little ‘uns. “A child’s body is very different from an adult’s. Building a digital human model of a child will help us design future systems that offer better protection for our young passengers,” he explains.

Building a digital model is no simple task. It is constructed component by component – brain, skull, neck, ribcage, upper and lower extremities – with extensive research taking place each step of the way. The components are then joined into a virtual human body, which is extensively validated. Then, using mathematical and analytical tools combined with available body data, researchers are able to determine the effects of a crash and the pressure of a restraint system on the body.