Engineering Amazing

The recent TV spots by Lexus (below) stirred up some questions from friends who know basically what we do here at Altair but not the specifics.

People asked, “Is that your software in the commercial?” But if they looked very carefully, they would see “dramatization” and “digital recreation” written in a small font on the screen. Lexus isn’t showing the technology behind the safety innovations, just a CGI cartoon. Not that there aren’t examples of Altair software being shown in the corporate communications of OEMs that I can point friends to, such as the Ford video about biofidelics in crash test dummies.

The Lexus commercial does make a good point: a virtual crash-test dummy is anything but dumb. Biomechanics modeling is becoming an increasingly important tool in the improvement of vehicle safety, but it isn’t new. Back in 2007 Altair published an article about virtual traumatology in our  Concept to Reality magazine.

The work to improve what Lexus calls “test geniuses” is continuing. At the 2011 Altair HTC series European event, customers and partners delivered a number of presentations on the subject. They included:

–  Daniel Baumgartner, University Strasbourg

–  Karine Thoral-Pierre, CEDREM

–  Robert Kant, Humanetics

–  Harold Van Aaken, Code PS

–  Frank Schoenmarkers, TASS

We all know that physical crash tests are time consuming and expensive, but more important for the real world is the fact that they can only represent one possible accident scenario. Crash simulations with finite element dummies allow not just an exploration of the regulatory frontal, offset and side impact tests but also a better understanding in real-world situations of the potential injuries that could be sustained—and that can be avoided through improved design.

The exploration of the design space with a virtual dummy might be even more important to you if you are a woman. A study by the American Journal of Public Health indicates that female drivers are 47 percent more likely to get injured or killed in an automobile accident than men. The report cites some reasons for this statistic: women are on average shorter and lighter than men and sit in different positions.

Drive safely!

Tony Norton
Tony Norton

About Tony Norton

Tony leads the Americas based Altair ProductDesign teams in the delivery of early concept (industrial design, design exploration, testing & prototyping) and advanced simulation driven design (cutting-edge modeling, optimization, methods development & automation) to our customers. Before joining Altair UK in 1996, he worked at both Ford Motor Company and GEC-Marconi Avionics. He moved to Michigan in 1999 to join Altair US, and holds a Bachelors degree from The University of Hertfordshire in England.