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Toyota partners with North Carolina school for auto safety research

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Sept. 13, 2011—The Wake Forest School of Medicine on Tuesday announced it is one of six research institutions to partner with Toyota’s Collaborative Safety Research Center (CSRC) to research the development, testing and implementation of new automotive safety innovations.

The school, in Winston-Salem-N.C., will research vehicle safety subjects including driver education, collision mitigation, accident reconstruction and enhanced crash data analysis. The research initiatives build upon the CSRC’s focus of reducing the risk of driver distraction and better protecting the most vulnerable traffic populations, including children, teens, seniors and pedestrians.

The research partnership is two-fold, according to Wake Forest. The first aspect of the research agreement is a one-year partnership that will focus on advanced automatic crash notification. Wake Forest will work to develop vehicle computer systems that notify first responders in the event of a collision, and predict the likelihood and severity of occupant and driver injuries.

The second aspect of the research partnership will focus on simulation of real-world collision events. The project, which is expected to last more than four years, will combine collision reconstruction data with Finite Element Modeling to better understand how to reduce injuries caused by vehicle collisions. The study will compare information about actual collisions with data from Toyota’s THUMS technology, allowing researchers to pinpoint which changes to vehicle design could have prevented injuries suffered by vehicle occupants.

The Wake Forest School of Medicine will work through its Center for Injury Biomechanics (CIB), which investigates injury mechanisms following trauma to develop a greater understanding of human tolerance to injury. The CIB has previously worked with the CSRC to develop ways to reduce trauma from head injuries, according to Wake Forest.

“Wake Forest School of Medicine is proud to partner with Toyota to continue working on these important safety innovations for the auto industry,” said Edward Abraham, dean of the medical school. “Our previous collaboration with Toyota provided the groundwork for us to be included in the continuation of this important research that will have real-life benefits in saving lives and preventing or reducing crash injuries.”

Toyota’s CSRC has partnered with five other research institutions to assist with the project, including: Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) AgeLab in Cambridge, Mass.; The Transportation Active Safety Institute, Indiana University and Purdue University (TASI) in Indianapolis, Ind.; Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University (VT) in Blacksburg, Va.; Washtenaw Area Transportation Study (WATS) in Ann Arbor, Mich.; and Wayne State University in Detroit, Mich.

The CSRC initiative, funded by a $50 million investment by Toyota, plans to announce additional partners and programs over the next year, according to Wake Forest.

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