Does GM use human bodies as crash test dummies? That's not the plot of a 1970s cult classic; it's the claim of one car-safety specialist in Sweden, who told newspaper Expressen that GM recently wrapped up a multiyear research study using human cadavers in car-crash simulations. The man says Saab cars were involved in the project, which reportedly involved people who had donated their own bodies—assumedly in the name of scientific research—not political dissidents. Well, that's a relief.
Whether GM did or not use cadavers in this case, the history of expired humans in crash testing spans at least a half-century. Prior to the 1950s, carmakers assumed no serious accident could be made survivable, and thus didn't bother to build components to any real safety spec. Such thinking started to shift during the late 1950s. That's when Detroit's Wayne State University initiated a program to determine a body's tolerance for smashes. To do it, researchers raided the medical school to find suitable subjects.
In one early study, embalmed corpses were flung down an elevator shaft to test noggin strength. The experiment led researchers to conclude the human head can take a surprising amount of force—about a ton and a half for a fraction of a second without injury, according to a documentary segment of the BBC science TV show Horizon that aired in 1998. The Detroit program made considerable headway (um, sorry) in the then-emerging field of auto-safety study. Wayne State researcher Albert King wrote in 1995 in the Journal of Trauma that cadaver research wound up saving 8,500 lives annually. For every cadaver used, he wrote, 61 people survive via seat belts, 147 by air bags and 68 by safety windshields.
These days, safety researchers mainly use highly refined dummies in repeatable standardized tests that log far more data than a corpse tumbling down an air shaft ever could. And if it were my guess, GM's involvement in a recent cadaver study would likely have focused on making the current crop of dummies (the inanimate kind) even more lifelike, with such work likely done through a research intermediary. Either way, those who survive serious crashes continue to owe a debt of gratitude to the deceased.
Via The Local (SE)
EDITOR'S NOTE (5/14/08): Saab responded this week to the cadaver claims, saying neither they nor GM have ever used "postmortem human test subjects" for safety research.
Is this an urban myth? I read somewhere that in the 1970's when air bags were being tested, an American auto company used dead babies. When a row erupted over this the testing was moved to Germany. After the same agitators stopped Germany using these cadavers the car companies simply installed the airbags as they were, and used the statistics from live children.
eather way thats nasty!!! #P
eather way thats nasty!!! #P
You've got to start somewhere. How else could you establish a model for the human body? I'm sure that there are also studies that try to correlate the damage done in an accident to the probable forces involved. However, these would involve a lot more uncertainty.
No, it's not a pleasant thought. But, the 'body farms' that they use to establish various forensic data abour corpses aren'rtgreat tourist attractions either.
Does'nt make much sense to me condiering Gm usualy buys there 1 million dollar crash dummies and has no real act in the production of the dummies. So this means that although they do not even produce their own dummies they will be willing to throw some dead bodies into a car with a brick on accelerator and smash the corpses and then what just toss out the bodies and put a new Mr. Smith in there and send him hurtling at 80 Mph to be tested. O yeah and i thought Gm wanted to keep beating Ford in sales.
We need another box on my drivers license. If I am going to dedicate my body to science. I want to make sure I am not used in testing GM's vehicles
No, it's not a pleasant thought. But, the 'body farms' that they use to establish various forensic data abour corpses aren'rtgreat tourist attractions either. http://www.hedefnakliyat.com