In 1949 the first crash test dummy (Anthropometric Test Device, or ATD) – a life-size model of a person used to measure human injury potential in vehicle crashes – was used to develop safety systems for motor vehicles. Since then, various entities have been working on the development and reproduction with fidelity of both the bone structure and internal organs in order to be able to measure and determine any injuries that occur in an impact. The elderly have decreased bone strength and internal organs along with increased medical impairments, but such characteristics are not represented by a conventional crash test dummy.

In order to represent a population with increased vulnerability to injury a new Elderly ATD (EATD) has been developed. The prototype EATD was developed with advanced 3D modelling and cutting-edge 3D printing techniques and materials. The 3D printing process has proven to be an invaluable tool in designing and developing crash dummies, but some areas need to be improved in terms of durability. The EATD anthropometric specifications developed were determined as 70-year old, female, and weighing approximately 73 kg with a stature of 1.61 metres.


Figure 1. Overall Elderly ATD Design (source: Humanetics)

The new EATD, see its design in Figure 1, enables a better understanding of the seatbelt interaction with elderly occupants by exploring pressure measuring organs with new types of abdominal deflection measurement systems. The belt interaction to flesh is important on an overweight person as the belt sits above the ASIS, not loading the pelvic bones but the abdomen, so it is likely to produce different injury and kinematics.

The organs chosen to be represented in the Elderly ATD, as shown in Figure 2, are the liver and spleen. Research has shown that in the AIS ≥ 3 category, the liver was the most frequently injured organ in frontal, right side and far side crashes; this was followed by spleen trauma. In contrast, the spleen sustained the maximum number of injuries in left and near side impacts. More biofidelity in this region provides greater insight into potential injury criteria.

elderly; ATD

Figure 2. Organ and displacement sensor layout in the elderly ATD (source: Humanetics)

To determine deflection of these organs, the lower IRTRACC’s of the ATD went through the liver area and just above the spleen. Additional deflection bands (connecting IRTRACCs) were added in front of each organ to also capture deflection directly in the liver and spleen areas.

Additionally, the new EATD allows a more realistic assessment of one of the main risks of injury for elderly car occupants, thoracic injuries.

Further information can be found in:

  • Beebe, M., et Al. (2017). “The introduction of a new Elderly Anthropomorphic Test Device (EATD).”. ESV Conference Paper number 17-0091.
  • Burleigh, M. (2017). “Introduction of a New Elderly Anthropomorphic Test Device.” Carhs Presentation.
  • Burleigh, M. (2017). “EC SENIORS PROJECT (Safety Enhanced Injury for Older Road Users).” BSI committee meeting Presentation.

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Inquiries: Adrià Ferrer, Innovation Project Manager (Applus+ IDIADA). E-mail: