GM Geniuses Get Gruesome Gawking at Gore

By Blake Z. Rong | August 13, 2012
GM engineers are going back to school to research crash injuries, only this time it's not a polytechnic institute, but the operating room at the University of Michigan Hospital. Hope they're not squeamish. More specifically, GM engineers are collaborating once again with the University's International Center of Automotive Medicine, which has offered a fellowship for engineers over the past decade. Crash test and safety engineers spend time witnessing surgeries and dissections to understand how human bodies become injured up close. The knowledge they get, especially with leg and hip injuries, can affect interior car design from the shape of the seats to the placement of the dashboard, to what materials in the steering column better deflect and defend against serious injuries. ICAM helps the automotive industry out by archiving thousands of scans of crash victims, as well as "'analytical morphomics,' a 3D medical imaging and computational biomechanics process developed specifically for crash research."
"ICAM is dedicated to preventing injuries from happening in the first place," said Dr. Stewart Wang, the center’s founding director. "We estimate our work has influenced the design of more than 75 million vehicles on the road today. [And] GM's engineers are the best at what they do and we learn a great deal from them. With all my experience as a researcher, they’ve really pushed me to up my game by demanding mathematically specific injury data that can serve as the basis for new test methodologies and occupant protection solutions." GM has sent 25 of its engineers to ICAM's Technical Fellowship for Engineers over the past 10 years. Right now, three of its engineers spend a day a week at the University of Michigan Hospital's research labs, studying injuries in relation to human anatomy. "Hopefully, the advances we’re making in occupant protection as a result of this fellowship," said Barbara Bunn, a crash test engineer for GM, "will mean even fewer people will suffer crash injuries in years to come." Source: GM