Since safety tests are only as helpful as the quality of data they collect, Toyota has developed an innovative virtual human model designed to help engineers better understand the causes of injury in actual car crashes. The Total Human Model for Safety, or THUMS, is a major step forward in the development of testing technology, one that allows Toyota to study crashes that were difficult to analyze with previous generations of crash test dummies. This information is then used to create the next generation of automotive technologies, improving the safety not just of Toyota drivers, but of consumers across the automotive industry.

A Fundamentally Different Approach to Crash Testing

Crash test dummies continue to be the accepted standard test device across the auto industry for evaluating the severity of an impact to vehicle occupants and pedestrians in a car crash. But while traditional dummies can measure the force and acceleration that is applied to a body during a crash, they cannot simulate the tissue injuries that result from these impacts.

To help fill this void, Toyota Motor Corporation and Toyota Central R&D Labs partnered to develop THUMS, an experimental virtual model of the human body that includes not just the exterior shape, but also internal structures like organs, bone, ligaments, tendons, and muscle. This advanced experimental approach to crash testing simulates the injuries sustained in actual car crashes. As a result, the model is able to detect and predict the most common injuries reported in accident data analysis.

THUMS currently includes a model for an adult male of average body size, and Toyota is working to create a female model and extend the system to different body sizes.

Contributing to the Next Generation of Safety Technologies

Toyota is using THUMS to better understand the mechanisms that cause injuries to vehicle occupants and pedestrians in car crashes, using the data collected to develop advanced safety technologies for airbags, seatbelt systems and vehicle body structures. In one case, THUMS was used to study low speed rear impacts to help reduce the risk of whiplash injuries. The resulting technologies, including the WIL Concept Seat and the Active Headrest, are helping to reduce the risk of one of the most common passenger car accident injuries.

Improving Crash Safety across the Automotive Industry

Toyota Motor Corporation began developing THUMS in 1997 with a goal of improving the quality of data gathered from crash testing. Working with Toyota Central R&D, engineers developed body component models that carefully replicate the geometry of the human body, integrating them into a full body system and bringing it all to market by 2000.


Today, more than thirty organizations across the automotive industry, including other car companies and research institutes, use THUMS to help develop the next generation of auto safety technologies. The system is still constantly being improved to provide better data collection to assist testing to ultimately provide a greater degree of safety for drivers on the road today. THUMS is already the subject of technical papers submitted to major conferences and journals, and Toyota is working to extend its detection functions to include advanced information such as data on the human brain.

For information on how to purchase THUMS Version 4, please contact Marsha Victory at Livermore Software Technology Corporation, marsha@lstc.com.