GM is Boldly Aiming for a World with Zero Crashes

GM is Boldly Aiming for a World with Zero Crashes

GM is Boldly Aiming for a World with Zero Crashes
GM Crash Test - Silverado
GM Crash Test - Silverado

June 21, 2022

General Motors (GM) has a long history of automobile safety innovation. In the 1970’s they developed a fully functional airbag called “Air Cushion Restraint System.” And now GM (General Motors) has a bold vision for the future – a world with zero crashes, zero emissions and zero congestion.1

GM’s 3 pillars for a better world is certainly a future we can all get behind. DTS (Diversified Technical Systems) is a long-time supplier partner to GM. In fact, in 1998 when we introduced the TDAS PRO, GM bought over 10k channels, and they’ve been using our data acquisition equipment ever since. The data captured by DTS data acquisition systems (DAS) and sensors helps automobile manufacturers, like GM, design safer cars and systems.

GM recently introduced their safety brand, Periscope, a more holistic approach to vehicle safety, which includes a focus on engineering for safety through the human lens, including driver behaviors and the driving environment. GM is working on developing features and technologies that improve the safety of drivers, passengers, and those outside the vehicle (vulnerable road users). GM has recently developed “Super Cruise,” a driver assisted technology that helps detects when drivers aren’t paying enough attention to the road ahead and alerts them.

To help realize their goal of zero crashes, zero emissions, and zero congestion, GM has partnered with EvoVadis, a business that companies such as GM to gain detailed insights into the strengths and areas for improvement in particular areas.

Shilpan Amin, GM global vice president, writes:

GM is committed to social, environmental, and economic sustainability in both our own operations and throughout our supply base. Issues regarding sustainability impact us all and cannot be solved by one company or one nation. At GM, we are taking an “Everybody In” approach…so we can make significant advances in the most pivotal matters of our time.

Engineering rugged onboard DAQ for automotive data collection is a key component of DTS. Our systems are designed to support crash safety, sled testing, off road, and NVH vibration data acquisition collection. We also offer a variety of DAS in-dummy solutions and integration kids for the complete family of anthropomorphic test devices (ATDs) and pedestrian safety testing.

We applaud GM’s vision for a world with zero crashes!

Photo Credit: GM Chevrolet
Resources
1. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-T4xdyGLjWo

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DTS Team “Dapper Dummies” Runs 190 Mile Relay Race

DTS Team “Dapper Dummies” Runs 190 Mile Relay Race

DTS Team “Dapper Dummies” Runs 190 Mile Relay Race
Team DTS Runners at Ragnar Race 2022
Team DTS Runners at Ragnar Race 2022

May 3, 2022

An intrepid group of DTS employees, officially dubbed team “Dapper Dummies,” ran the 190 Mile Ragnar Road So Cal Relay Race in style with their bright orange shirts, bow ties, and matching socks. They took to the road on Friday April 29 and ran round the clock from start to finish with teammates alternating running and sleeping in one of the two team vans.

“Remember, what happened in Van 2 stays in Van 2. And it’s confirmed that our driver in Van 2 was our Most Valuable team member. Thanks MJ!” Jim Shaw

Dapper Dummies placed 172 out of 324 teams and completed the course in just over 33 ½ hours – to be precise the official time was 33:32:27.000000 for 190.3 miles. That makes the average pace 10.28 min/mile including stop lights, missing signs, hills, hot weather, and singing happy birthday.

“A baker’s dozen of people singing happy birthday while a crowd cheers them running in is a special thing.” Dan McFadden

Congratulations to DTS Team Dapper Dummies:

Runners: Kristina Fett, Rollin White, Loc Pham, Jessica Alvarado, Jim Shaw, Kimberly Stull, Bryan Todd, Nathan Brown, Jerry Lawrence, Dan McFadden, Dana Tice and Ben Pruitt.

Chase Team/Drivers: Mike “MJ” Jackson & Steve Pruitt. Special thanks to Kirsten Larsen for setting up and breaking down camp, and Lauren Talley for bringing bagels, muffins and coffee.

So, what thoughts does the team have to offer after their experience? And the burning question… would they do it again?

“It’s true that peer-pressure is a powerful thing.” Jerry Lawrence

“I had a great time, lost my voice a little bit for Sunday from all the cheering and happy birthday singing between the exchanges. I remember at one point someone texted during their run that it had been snowing when they started their run and that a mountain lion had growled at them. The best thing for me was definitely the company and having fun during the downtime. Would definitely do it again.” Dan McFadden

“Best thing: the DTS people involved. Worst: lack of sleep. This will be the third time I’ve now said I’d never do it again… but I would do it again.” Jim Shaw

“From Van 2 I learned Brian and Jerry take water balloons very seriously. Jessica should not have pre-workout. Rollin cannot answer your questions right after a 7-mile run. Jim is an excellent salesman for muscle massage guns. Mike has an amazing tolerance for driving way too many hours. The entire team comes up with the most hilarious conversations when sleep deprived. But most importantly … I learned that our team does an amazing job of taking care of each other and supporting each other through a very challenging event. This was an amazing team to do this event with! I will never forget this group getting the entire crowd to sing happy birthday to me as we crossed the finish line. It was unforgettable!” Kristina Fett

Well done Dapper Dummies!

Ragnar Run So Cal is a stunning ocean view relay race that stretches from San Diego to Huntington Beach.

Team DTS Runners at Ragnar Race 2022 - Van
Team DTS Runners at Ragnar Race 2022 - Relay Shots
Team DTS Runners at Ragnar Race 2022 - Relay Shots

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Blast Test Dummy Assessment Tool Receives Stamp of Accreditation

Blast Test Dummy Assessment Tool Receives Stamp of Accreditation

Blast Test Dummy Assessment Tool Receives Stamp of Accreditation
DTS WIAMan Software AMANDA
DTS WIAMan Software AMANDA

May 1, 2022

In Iraq and Afghanistan underbody blasts from improvised explosive were the largest cause of injury for U.S. troops. In order to help make troops safer, the U.S. Army first needed a highly specialized test dummy that would allow them to gather the right data in a blast test.

That specialized blast test dummy is now a reality and is known as WIAMan, or Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin. WIAMan is specifically designed for military use in underbody blast testing of vehicles to validate vehicle design and safety features engineered to protect warfighters. As stated in a recent news post on soldiersystems.net1:

“WIAMan represents the most human-like surrogate yet to provide insight on improving military ground vehicle systems and identify protection mechanisms that reduce the likelihood and severity of warfighter injuries.”

Developed in partnership with the U.S. Army, DTS, and top universities, who were responsible for extensive injury biomechanics research, the WIAMan blast manikin measures vertical loads. A blast impact comes from below the occupant. Automotive crash test dummies are designed to measure only frontal or side impacts, which is why development of WIAMan was critical. DTS was the prime contractor and built both the manikin and the SLICE6 data acquisition system and then integrating them.2

This large volume of data is processed by analytical experts from DEVCOM (U.S. Army Combat Capabilities Development Command) “to provide reliable injury assessment and analysis.”1

The WIAMan software analysis tool used is called AMANDA, or the Analysis of Manikin Data. And on Feb. 2, 2022, AMANDA received a final stamp of trust in quality and accuracy when it was accredited by the U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command for use in live fire test and evaluation.

“The WIAMan data acquisition system takes samples from an event at a rate of approximately 200,000 samples a second, and the typical event takes a couple seconds, so we’re talking around 400,000 data samples — an incredible amount of data,” said Jacob Ehlenberger, AMANDA software developer. “When you load that into AMANDA, all subject matter experts have to worry about is looking at the results. AMANDA automates the entire process, bringing complex analysis to the hands of experts so they can focus on their domain of excellence.” 1

AMANDA also integrates filtering methodology, developed by Aaron Alai, a DAC signal processing scientist, to ensure sensor data does not reflect extraneous noise that could lead to incorrect injury prediction.1

The data produced by WIAMan, once analyzed, helps the Army to more accurately measure soldier risk and evaluate trade-offs in vehicle design. Ultimately this means reducing the likelihood and severity of warfighter injuries.

“Simply put, insight from AMANDA saves lives.”1

Resources

  1. https://soldiersystems.net/2022/05/17/army-injury-assessment-tool-receives-stamp-of-accreditation/
  2. https://www.aerodefensetech.com/component/content/article/adt/features/articles/27963

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These Test Dummies are Going Places

These Test Dummies are Going Places

These Test Dummies are Going Places
CNBC video - The 1 Million Dollar Crash Test Dummy
CNBC video - The 1 Million Dollar Crash Test Dummy

March 31, 2022

Test manikins have come a long way. Anthropomorphic test devices, or ATDs, put themselves on the line each time we need their help. And that’s just what they’re designed for.

The creation of crash test dummies all started in 1949 when Air Force flight surgeon Major J.P. Stapp, who was studying “physiology of rapid deceleration,”1 wanted something human-like to test his rocket sled. The result was Sierra Sam. Built by a California firm, Sam was a dummy based on plaster casts of an actual pilot and had instrumentation in his thorax and head.

It soon became obvious that test dummies, like Sierra Sam, could be highly useful in the automobile industry. In 1966 Congress passed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and in the same year, an engineer named Samuel Alderson, constructed the first test manikin specifically for the automotive industry. The ATD was named V.I.P.

In an effort to take testing to the next level, General Motors had the idea to use the best of what was available. GM put a Sierra Sam head onto V.I.P.’s body. The year was 1971 and this was the birth of the first Hybrid dummy, Hybrid 1. Automotive testing with dummies led to many improved safety features in cars, from steering wheel placement to the arc of the seatbelt.

There were concerns, however, because all ATDs were based on the size of an adult male so there was no ability to collect data on female or child-sized occupants. In the 1980s ATDs that were closer to the size of women were developed, but these were simply a scaled down version of the male dummy, not based on a female’s biofidelity, which means the manikins did not respond like a human female body would in an accident.

According to a recent CNBC report “How Crash Test Dummies Evolved to Cost $1 Million,” 51% of drivers are women. Because many industries are still not testing with ATDs based on female bio fidelity, there are still concerns about the safety of all sizes of drivers and passengers. In fact, statistics show that women are 17-19% more likely to die in the same accident as a man, and 73% more likely to be injured.

But industries are evolving. In the 1980s, third-generation Hybrids, Vince and Larry, were developed. Today the Hybrid III is still a widely used manikin plus it’s evolved into a full family of ATDs including toddlers, children, a small female and a large male. There are even specialty manikins to represent those at special risk of injury including the obese and the elderly.

And now there is also an even newer frontal crash test dummy on the scene: THOR. THOR, the dummy highlighted in the CNBC report, is truer to life and moves more like a real person. There is also more advanced technology inside that helps measure these more true-to-life movements. For example, the DTS A64C accelerometer and DTS ARS angular rate sensor can be embedded in any ATD to measure six-degrees-of-freedom motion (like all the directions a head could move).

Today, it’s not just the automobile industry using crash test dummies. Originally Sierra Sam was designed for rocket sled tests. Today ATDs are being used for blast testing, helicopter crash testing and space flight. We have WIAMan, who is the first vertical load manikin and is being used to help keep soldiers safer. And recently a Hybrid III manikin named “Ripley” traveled to the International Space Station on the SpaceX Crew Dragon capsule. With a focus on astronaut safety, the embedded sensors in Riley captured data on the forces astronauts may experience during launch, flight, and landing.

As we continue to improve ATDs and the information we can gather from them, who knows what future applications they’ll be designed for and the places they’ll go. But whether we’re talking about driving on the highway or adventuring into space, we owe a lot to these versatile test dummies. You could even say we owe them our lives. And as far as what they go through to get us this valuable data, like Larry the crash dummy said in a long-ago TV commercial before slamming a car into a wall, “It’s all worth it to get people to buckle up.”1

Resources
1. https://www.nytimes.com/2012/05/20/magazine/who-made-that-crash-test-dummy.html

DTS DDR Data Logger - DDR Control Software for Helmet Safety Testing

DTS In-Dummy DAS Integration — Spine / Pelvis 

DTS In-Dummy DAS Integration Thorax - CNBC video

DTS In-Dummy DAS Integration — Chest / Pelvis

DTS DDR Data Logger - DDR Control Software for Helmet Safety Testing

DTS In-Dummy DAS Integration — Spine / Pelvis

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Meet the Smallest Most Versatile 6DOF Data Logger Available

Meet the Smallest Most Versatile 6DOF Data Logger Available

Meet the Smallest Most Versatile 6DOF Data Logger Available
DTS DDR Smallest Versatile 6DOF Data Logger Available
DTS DDR Smallest Versatile 6DOF Data Logger Available

February 8, 2022

Ultra-small, ultra-light, ultra-low power and ultra-flexible. That’s the DTS DDR. One of the latest innovations from DTS, the DDR (Dynamic Data Recorder) is expanding testing possibilities. This standalone 6-degrees-of-freedom (6DOF) data logger measures both triaxial linear and triaxial angular acceleration and can be laid flat or curved around, or in, a test article.

This versatility means the DTS DDR can be used in a large variety of applications such as:

  • Sports/Biomechanics: embed on, or in, mouthguards, helmets, shoes, and gloves for monitoring strike and impact. The NFL is using mouthguards fitted with the DDR to monitor and help advance player safety.
  • Defense/Army: embed in protective gear including helmets, boots or packs to collect 6DOF data in the field and during training. The DDR technology is also being used to develop In-Ear Exposure Sensors (IEES) to Measure Blunt Impact & Blast Overpressure.
  • Pharmaceuticals & Manufacturing: Weighing only 2.5 grams, the DDR can be used to create a “golden” unit that has the same size and weight as the actual product. The instrumented unit can then be run through the automated assembly line or shipping process to record measurements such as shock and vibration.
  • High Value Asset Monitoring: can be used in package testing and safe transit of high value assets in a variety of environments and vehicles such as planes, trains, trucks, and cargo containers.

Designed to be embedded on or in devices under test without altering usage or test dynamics, this ultra-low power bare flex circuit with built-in sensors has non-volatile flash memory, a shock rating of 10000 g operating/survivable, and wireless inductive charging.

The DTS DDR, one of the most innovative data acquisition solutions available. Click to learn more.

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Full-Scale Nuclear Transporter Crash Test

Full-Scale Nuclear Transporter Crash Test

Full-Scale Nuclear Transporter Crash Test
Sandia Full Scale Crash Test
Sandia Full Scale Crash Test

November 2, 2021

Successful crash test meets major milestone for nuclear deterrence program
Article Written By: Manette Newbold Fisher /
Sandia Lab News Vol. 72, No. 20, October 9, 2020

A full-scale crash test involving a semitruck impacting the side of the first prototype of a new weapons transporter successfully took place at Sandia this summer.

Using the Labs’ sled track, rockets propelled the semitractor-trailer at highway speeds into the prototype, an over-the-road Mobile Guardian Transporter conceptualized and built from scratch. Data from the event will be used for qualification of the transporter and to better understand cargo response in accident scenarios for years to come.

This test met a major milestone for NNSA as part of the Labs’ nuclear deterrence program, said Gary Laughlin, Sandia director over the program. Eventually, the new transporters will replace the current fleet of vehicles that safely and securely move nuclear assets within the United States.
“Completing this milestone is one example of Sandia’s dedication to the Office of Secure Transportation and the nuclear deterrence program,” Gary said. “Very creatively and with the help of many teams throughout Sandia, Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore national laboratories, we figured out how to build a new trailer and complete a test that was flawlessly executed.”

Biggest crash test in decades

Crash tests at this scale using transporter vehicles have not taken place at the Labs for about 20 years, said Jim Redmond, senior manager over the program, adding that Sandia has never executed a test quite like this one at full scale.

“About two decades ago, Sandia crashed a truck into an immovable barrier, but this is the first time we’ve done a test in this configuration, where we took a truck at full capacity and propelled it down the track and hit our test article sitting idly at the end of it,” Jim said. “In two decades, you can imagine how much technology has advanced in terms of our ability to measure responses of the trailer and its contents.”

One purpose of the crash test, said manager Daniel Wilcox, was to ensure the new fleet of semitrailer transporters will be able to keep cargo safe in the event of an unexpected crash.

Sandia’s primary mission is ensuring the U.S. nuclear arsenal is safe, secure and reliable. As part of that mission, and since the inception of nuclear deterrence, Sandia has played an important role in transportation, Jim said.

“The transportation mission is a critical component of an effective nuclear deterrent,” he said. “It provides needed assurance to the American public and our allies of the safety and security of our stockpile. You’ve got to be able to ship nuclear assets safely and securely or you don’t have a deterrence program.”

Starting ‘with a clean sheet of paper’

Sandia manager Barry Boughton was part of the team that worked on the previous fleet of transporters that have been in use since the 1990s. Following testing on additional prototypes in coming years, the current set of transporters will be replaced by the Mobile Guardian Transporter fleet, which is expected to be in service beyond 2050.

Barry said the transporter systems begin with demanding requirements that change with each fleet as technology and the operating environment evolve. From there, the design team begins creating a brand-new system.

“The Mobile Guardian Transporters are not an extension of the old trailers,” he said. “We started with a clean sheet of paper.”

Nearly everything that makes up the transporters is custom designed and built, with a few exceptions. It was a multiyear design effort to get to the point where Sandia could work with an external partner to build the road-ready trailer. Initially, the prototype didn’t have any electronics or finishing touches. Following the 13-month trailer build, the team worked for an additional six months assembling electronics before they began testing the prototype in normal and abnormal environments.

Normal environment tests included such activities as driving the transporter on the road while measuring shock and vibration response and exposing the vehicle to thermal cycling while measuring its response to various temperatures.

From January to June, the team prepped the vehicle for the crash test by setting up data-acquisition instrumentation and configuring and installing representative cargo. Setting up the channels was one of the most challenging technical aspects of test setup, said Kylen Johns, prototype project lead.

“We had a goal of gathering an unprecedented amount of data, realizing that it would be extremely difficult in such a harsh environment,” she said. “To reduce risk, we built in redundancy to the systems and included peer reviewers in every step of the preparation. We were crashing a semi into another semi, and protecting these super tiny, thin cables meant the difference between getting critical data or missing major objectives.”

During the test, more than 400 channels of data and video, including high-speed video, were collected, Jim said. Every sensor served a purpose and provided specific data that the team analyzes to make sure the transporter meets all requirements. The team will only build three prototypes, so every scrap of data is meaningful to the project.

Test day collaboration

The complexity of the setup required the multiorganization crash test execution team and other collaborating groups to remain “laser-focused” for months, Daniel said, to ensure the crash date wasn’t delayed, the test objectives were met and data wasn’t compromised.

The prototype was moved to the test site in June, where employees continued preparing for the crash in pandemic conditions, in the heat of the desert — running cables, fixing problems, soldering wires, setting up cameras, checking acquisitions systems and setting triggers.

On test day, final preparation started several hours before dawn. Around midday, the test execution team, transporter team members and stakeholders stood at a safe distance from the sled track and watched the crash take place. There was a lot of buildup to that point, Jim said, with the years-long effort resulting in a transporter assembly test that was over in a matter of seconds.

“I was glad to see the rockets fired; I was glad to see it was successful,” he said. “It was tense. The entire team, including partners from LANL and Lawrence Livermore, were excited and relieved. There’s a lot of pride among the team, as well as the government sponsors, that we are greatly increasing our understanding of accident environments.”

Karen Rogers, senior manager for Sandia’s validation and qualification team, oversees the group that designed and conducted the rocket-sled test. Karen praised the seamless collaboration between teams, saying, “We worked in partnership, and at times side-by-side, to create all the elements that led to this successful test. It was gratifying to see the results of that hard work and the teamwork that made it happen.”

Deadline met despite pandemic

Before the COVID-19 pandemic started to impact many Sandia operations in early March, activities were on track for the summer test, Daniel said. Threat of the virus understandably complicated work across the program, but the team came together to keep things moving forward toward the test.

“There was a feeling of, ‘What are the impacts of the pandemic on this test — and can we really do this?’” he said. “Even though the unexpected challenge of COVID-19 added significant complications to an already-complex test, the crash was executed on the precise day it was planned before the pandemic, with no delay.”

Because completing the test on time was critical to NNSA, much of the team continued working on site when about 70% of Labs employees started telecommuting in mid-March.

Sandia industrial health and Environment, Safety & Health professionals helped the team work effectively in close quarters by requiring masks, checking ventilation systems and advising on how to take turns inside the vehicle, Gary said. The team’s procedures set a standard for social distancing at the Labs.

“Years of effort from the entire team and our partners, punctuated by the final push in a COVID-impacted world, resulted in a successful test,” Daniel said. “We are delighted by and grateful for the effort of so many that led to such spectacular results.”

Sandia Full Scale Crash Test Photo
TRANSPORTER CRASH TEST — Using Sandia’s sled track, rockets propelled the semitractor-trailer at highway speeds into a prototype of an over-the-road Mobile Guardian Transporter conceptualized and built from scratch. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)
Orion Space Capsule Drop Test DTS DAS onboard
OVERCOMING CHALLENGES — Sandia quality engineer Dulce Barrera, left, and systems engineer and team lead Kylen Johns coordinated with colleagues to mitigate the challenges caused by COVID-19 during preparation for a full-scale crash test that took place this summer. (Photo by Bret Latter)
Sandia Full Scale Crash Test Photo
TRANSPORTER CRASH TEST — Using Sandia’s sled track, rockets propelled the semitractor-trailer at highway speeds into a prototype of an over-the-road Mobile Guardian Transporter conceptualized and built from scratch. (Photo courtesy of Sandia National Laboratories)

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New aPLI Advances Pedestrian Safety

New aPLI Advances Pedestrian Safety

New aPLI Advances Pedestrian Safety

Seal Beach, CA – According to the World Health Organization, more than 5,000 pedestrians are killed each week worldwide. The Governors Highway Safety Association reported that pedestrian fatalities in the USA have risen by 41% since 2008 – the highest in 30 years.
Starting in 2022, Euro NCAP announced that it will adopt the new advanced Pedestrian Legform Impactor (aPLI) in its testing. The aPLI weighs 24.9kg (55 lb), compared with the 13.2kg (29 lb) Flex PLI, and the mass distribution has been refined to be more biofidelic, top to bottom. The structural design has also been simplified to improve repeatability and reproducibility of results.
Like its Flex PLI predecessor, the aPLI features integrated data acquisition and sensors from DTS. The aPLI legform supports SLICE NANO, along with the 6DX PRO six degrees of freedom sensor package and the ARS PRO uniaxial angular rate sensor
Using the SLICE NANO stack extender, a special DTS mounting hardware solution designed for applications with limited height restrictions, the modular sensor layers can be split into two stacks, but still require only one BASE+. The standard aPLI configuration includes 18 sensor channels focused on three primary types of measurements: injury assessment, flight dynamics and vehicle impact
Embedding the data acquisition into the test article minimizes exposed cables throughout the leg and eliminates any trailing cables that could affect the launch.  DTS offers a complete turnkey solution engineered to maintain proper mass, center of gravity and moments to help advance pedestrian safety testing.

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