LINKOPING (Sweden) — Her name is SET 50F and she’s the world’s first female crash test dummy, designed by a Swedish engineer to help make sure women are better protected in cars.
Legislation only requires carmakers to conduct crash tests with dummies based on male proportions — a model dating back to the 1970s — even though statistics show that women are more at risk of injury in the event of a frontal collision.
Carmakers have used smaller-sized versions of male dummies to represent women and children, but those have not taken into account the different morphology of women’s bodies.
Dr Astrid Linder, an engineer at the Swedish National Road and Transport Research Institute (VTI), decided to change that with “the world’s first average-sized female crash test dummy”, according to VTI.
In a warehouse in Linkoping, 200km south of Stockholm, the female dummy is strapped into a car seat projected along a metal rail at 16kmh, before being brought to a sudden halt.
Her shoulders are also narrower and her hips wider.
These differences, as well as a lower centre of gravity, play an important role in evaluating the risks women face in a car accident.
“For non-fatal injuries which can lead to disabilities, statistics show that the factor that always stands out is the difference between men and women,” Dr Linder told AFP.
“The resulting suffering can last a lifetime. It is essential to establish how everyone can be protected.”
According to a 2019 study from the University of Virginia in the United States, women are 73 per cent more likely than men to be injured in the event of a frontal collision.
They are also twice as likely to suffer whiplash injuries in an accident because of the morphology of their necks and the design of neck supports in cars.