This project is a collaboration between Toyota's CSRC and Wake Forest University School of Medicine

The Crash Injury Research and Engineering Network (CIREN) maintains an in-depth database of real-world vehicle crashes, including detailed analysis of post-crash conditions, witness comments, environmental conditions and occupant injuries. The CIREN database is used to form hypotheses about what causes different types of injuries, based primarily on medical opinion and accident reconstruction techniques.

Post-accident analysis can be very useful in identifying possible safety issues in vehicles, the environment, or driver conditions, and can lead to the improved development and design of safety restraints or crash-avoidance systems. However, these systems are limited to data collected after an event. By contrast, finite element modeling and simulation can be used to better understand vehicle and occupant conditions during a crash event, leading to more accurate hypotheses of injury causation and the development of even safer driving conditions.

By combining crash reconstruction data with finite element modeling, Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) and Wake Forest University School of Medicine are researching ways to make virtual models of actual crash events, allowing safety engineers to identify new vehicle design parameters that can help reduce injuries suffered by vehicle occupants during an accident.


The CSRC and Wake Forest will review crash information in the CIREN database to identify commonly occurring crash events to build computer simulations.

The initial simulation inputs will be based on the parameters in the CIREN database determined by accident reconstruction techniques, such as angle of impact, vehicle speed and occupant position in the vehicle. The goal of this research is to recreate the crash event in a computer simulation that tracks as close as possible to the actual event.


Researchers will then simulate those crash events with relevant crash parameters using Toyota’s groundbreaking Total Human Model for Safety (THUMS) finite element modeling software to better understand the forces and impacts on vehicle occupant bodies during the crash. To validate the model, the injuries predicted by the THUMS simulation will then be compared to actual injuries sustained in the crash.


Finally, using THUMS, researchers will adjust the parameters of the crash event to see how they change the outcome for vehicle occupants. This will allow engineers to visualize more effectively how injury prevention systems can better decrease injuries to vehicle occupants during a crash.

This five-year project will explore five different types of vehicle crashes, including side impact, frontal impact, rear impact, rollover and pedestrian impact collisions. These will all be simulated based on conditions found in the CIREN database. Each accident type will take approximately one year to complete, from the identification of CIREN cases through the comparison of actual outcomes to simulated predictions.

For more information on how to purchase THUMS Version 4, please contact Marsha Victory at Livermore Software Technology Corporation,