Artificial Skin Design for Human Surrogates

This artificial skin technology produces a similar reflectivity as human skin in the 76-77 GHz frequency range and can be effectively used on mannequins for pedestrian pre-collision system (PCS) evaluations.

The Need

According to fatality crash data from the 2003-2012 Fatality Analysis Report System (FARS) in United States, there was an average of around 4,400 pedestrian fatalities per year, accounting for 11-14% of all traffic fatalities and the numbers have continued to rise in recent years.In Japan, the nearly 2,000 pedestrian fatalities that same year accounted for 36 percent of all traffic fatalities. Pedestrian PCS (pre-Collision Systems), have been introduced by several leading vehicle manufacturers such as Toyota, Mercedes, Ford etc. in order to reduce pedestrian fatalities. The percentage of driver related violations in 2012 reached to 22%. For these reasons, advanced forward looking PCS systems have a high potential to improve safety for this group of road users. The viability of the vision sensors depend on mannequins that correctly represent human pedestrians. To produce lifelike mannequins for the radar sensors, the mannequin skin should have the same electrical properties as human skin. To ensure that the mannequin provides the same radar cross section (RCS) as a pedestrian in the view of a 77GHz automotive radar, a novel, multi-layer metal fabric mannequin skin that mimics the same electrical properties of real human skin was developed.

The Market

There have been numerous attempts to address the problem of pedestrian fatalities such as taller hoods and exterior airbags; however, the industry is moving away from “passive” to more “active” safety systems designed to prevent car-to-car and car-to-pedestrian collisions in the first place. Additionally, evidence gathered by both manufacturers and the insurance industry has shown the PCS technology to be extremely effective; with a number of insurers offering discounts on vehicles equipped with such forward collision warning and mitigation systems. Vehicle manufacturers view new technology such as the pedestrian PCS as a critical step toward accident free and autonomous driving.

  • The global market for machine vision (MV) system components such as smart cameras and sensors totaled $14.4 billion in 2013 and $15.7 billion in 2014. The market should reach $17.1 billion in 2015 and about $26.9 billion in 2020 (BBC Research)
  • The automotive industry spends nearly $100 billion globally on Research and Development-- $18 billion per year in the U.S. alone (Center for Automotive Research)
  • The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration estimates automakers will need to spend billions of dollars to adopt safety systems that automatically assist drivers which could be mandated by 2020, when the industry expects the first self-driving cars to appear on the roads.

The Technology

The Ohio State University’s, Dr. Chen developed, in collaboration with Indiana University and Toyota Motor Corporation, a novel, multi-layer metal fabric for a set of mannequins for pedestrian PCS evaluation. Human skin uniquely responds to electromagnetic waves at different frequencies and this novel artificial skin technology describes a methodology of covering the surface of human surrogates such that they produce similar responses as a real human skin to a 76-77 GHz radar. Surrogates are important in testing the effectiveness of a 76-77 GHz radar in detecting pedestrians. Competing surrogates used for these tests cannot produce realistic responses to a 76-77 GHz radar in all scenarios such as at different looking angles and in motion. The reflectivity requirements were derived from both simulation data from numerical model and measurement data from real human subjects. The technology is in the alpha prototype stage with unlimited funding from Toyota's Collaborative Safety Research Center.

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