Why companies are spending millions on crash test dummies

A car buyer may never see crash test dummies, but they are an important part of what helps move car safety forward.

The latest crash test dummies are equipped with sensors and new technology and can cost $1 million. Large car manufacturers and suppliers may have fleets of dozens of dummies. The new mannequins are also made more bio-fidel, meaning they match the actual shape and features of the human body.

Humanetics, the world’s leading manufacturer of crash test dummies, has paid particular attention to making the latest generation of female crash test dummies more like real women. The most commonly used female manikin today, called the Hybrid III 5F, is a smaller version of the male Hybrid III with masculine proportions and weight distribution.

The latest generation of frontal impact dummies are equipped with a large array of sensors, on-board computers and designs designed to more closely resemble the larger modern humans. The average American has gained a few pounds since the early 1980s when the previous generation was released.

Automakers and some vehicle testing groups around the world have already adopted the latest dummies, but some are holding back, including the US government.

To find out more, watch the video.

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