Automotive safety has increased with the years. Today it is known that for example, the seat belt saves lives, that the air bags are great for protecting those involved in an auto accident. However, the industry has realized that the mannequins that are used for these crash testing are based on a model of people that do not exceeds 40 years old, approximately, and in Europe, for example, the average age is higher, we will, are societies that are more old. For this reason, it is seeking to create mannequins based on people over 65 years.
The population in Europe is getting older, there’s no doubt. The automotive industry then is to develop vehicles and equipment specifically considering people who drive cars and who have, on average, between 60 and 65 years.
Statistics show that european roads are safer. In the past seven years, the total of fatal accidents on these roads has dropped by 20%, but at the same time, the proportion of older people injured or killed has increased in those same ways of communication.
It is expected that the percentage of people who reach 80 years or more will increase by 30% by the 2080, and this may be connected with the accident carters, whose prediction is that, then, would increase considerably. And this could be a public problem eventually.
For this reason, Europe is already thinking about changing the model of test dummies of and to make them more similar to the bodies of people who are 65 years of age or more. The models of “crash test dummies” now runs from 20 to 65 years. This, according to some analysts, means that many devices and computers in modern cars are not the most suitable considering the number of elderly people who drive in the streets. For example, consider the speedometer. To create this type of devices so that they are easy to read for older people is an issue that could well be on the table, to mention some of the systems that are in a car. If we consider that already a fifth of the european population is 65 years or more, it is clear that there is planning this for the future.
For this reason, a project called SENIORS, expected to deal with the problem, creating new designs more realistic for the crash dummies. “There are differences in bone geometry and even in weight, so that all systems of the car should also be considered for the elderly so as to better protect them,” says Mark Burleigh, the manufacturer of test dummies of Humanetics Europe, which is also a design engineer at SENIORS. “The muscles are less strong, and move differently before and during an accident,” she adds.
To create a mannequin senior, Burleigh and his colleagues collected data to determine statistically the average person and so they scanned the bodies of real people. It even made scans to determine the position of the organs. With this, they created a replica printed in 3D of a woman age 70 years with a body mass index of 29 (25 is the maximum for a person with no obesity) and with 1.61 m. height. In fact, this is the body in general of the older people involved in accidents, according to Burleigh. Today this dummy is used in the research, but Burleigh thinks that in the future it will be a requirement for all auto manufacturers.
The project is also testing seats with various features, designed to protect the bodies of older people. The most damage in the accident occurs on the chest, so that researchers are designing new seats to prevent this. Generally, the seats in the cars are the shape of the skeleton and assume measures typical of young adults. But in the case of an accident, with a person who is very obese at the same, the seat belt may press on your abdomen and not your waist as you would expect. One of the designs of the team of SENIORS-in fact-wearing seat belts crossed in the entire body.
Other ideas suggest that the systems have a control panel different, that it can even be used for hand gestures to interact with the on-board computer. This means that the driver, for example you could simply make a gesture in the air to open or close the windows instead of using a crank or a button to this task.
Then may be seen the real possibility of interesting changes in cars of the near future. And we do not speak of flying automobiles, but vehicles considering the safety of the people, based not only on traditional parameters, but considering the specificity of ages, shapes and sizes of the bodies as they age.