In addition to physical mannequins for crash tests, Toyota also uses its own computer programme to simulate the human body in a vehicle collision.
Known as THUMS (Total HUman Model for Safety), its development started in 1997 and the first version was introduced in 2000. Upgrades in 2008, 2010 and 2015 made THUMS progressively more useful in its simulation of bodily injury and biological response.
THUMS AM50 (adult male 50th percentile), for example, represents an average-build 35-year-old man who’s 175 centimetres in height and 77 kilograms in weight. He’s able to adopt a sitting or standing posture, so he can be an occupant in the cabin of a vehicle caught in an accident or a pedestrian who gets hit by a car.
The virtual pain inflicted on the digital individual is in the form of bone fracture, ligament rupture, brain trauma, internal organ damage and whiplash. Enter the binary code for “ouch”.
According to Toyota, many other automakers have adopted THUMS, but it “would like to refrain from disclosing specific user info”. What Toyota is willing to reveal is that in the Asia Pacific region, 12 automotive companies and 24 research institutes use THUMS.
If the simulation programme works so well, why doesn’t Toyota simulate and evaluate entire crash tests on computer? Because THUMS is meant to complement actual crash test dummies rather than replace them, with data and insights from the analysis of both “peoples” providing a fuller picture.