New initiative aims at enhancing safety in motorsports
Toyota Motor Corporation and the Global Institute for Motor Sport Safety (Global Institute) have launched a four-year research project using Toyota’s Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) with the aim of enhancing safety in motorsports. The Global Institute is the safety research partner of the Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile (FIA), the governing body of world motorsports.
The joint research project covers study on collisions involving not only closed-circuit race cars, but also rally cars, and will possibly include review of seat structures and seatbelt positioning. Based on the results, the Global Institute plans to consider measures that could lead to updating motorsports regulations and other actions to enhance the safety of motorsports vehicles.
Although crash dummies are commonly used in vehicle collision tests, they do not allow for easy and detailed analysis of how collisions impact the brain, internal organs and certain other parts of the body. As a result, Toyota has been working with Toyota Central R&D Labs, Inc. since 2000 to develop THUMS, which allows for computer simulation and analysis of actual conditions during a crash and of the mechanisms of injury occurrence, including that of injuries to internal organs and other parts of the body.
“Since its founding, Toyota has dedicated itself to producing vehicles that are safe and provide complete peace of mind,” said Takayuki Yoshitsugu, Chief Representative, Middle East and North Africa Representative Office, Toyota Motor Corporation. “We are pleased to partner with the Global Institute to continue delivering on this vision and surpass the expectations of our valued customers who associate the name Toyota with a brand that is committed to leveraging technology and industry innovations to provide customers with safer and more secure driving experience.”
“It is deeply satisfying to know that our customers have been highly appreciative of our safety-related initiatives, and I would like to express my sincere gratitude to them for their continued support over the years,” Yoshitsugu added.
Since 2007, Toyota has been using THUMS not only for general automobiles, but also to analyze injuries due to crashes in motorsports. In response to a request from the FIA and NASCAR (the U.S.-based National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing), Toyota has also been using THUMS to identify deceleration g-forces and the powerful forces imposed during a collision on the spine and internal organs, due to the seating conditions unique to race cars, and to investigate methods of mitigating those forces.
Last year, as part of its continued commitment toward improving vehicle safety performance, Toyota enhanced its THUMS virtual crash dummy software with a new range of models. The company added three new models – representing children aged ten, six, and three – to Version 4 of the software; the expanded line-up takes into consideration the influence of age and physique, and allows for a more thorough injury analysis.
THUMS is used for a wide variety of purposes by automobile manufacturers, parts manufacturers, and universities, both in Japan and overseas. It contributes to research on safety technologies not just at Toyota, but also by organizations all over the world. The ultimate desire of a mobile society is to advance towards the goal of eliminating traffic fatalities and injuries.