Ford is developing a digital model of a human child to aid research into how car safety can be improved for youngsters.
The idea is to use the model as a "digital dummy" in computerised testing to determine the nature of injuries children may suffer in a crash and find ways to reduce the impact.
Dr Steve Rouhana, senior technical leader for Safety at Ford Research and Advanced Engineering, said: "We study injury trends in the field, and we know that traffic crashes are the leading cause of death for people from age one to 34.
"We want to better understand how injuries to younger occupants may be different."
Researchers atFord have spent nearly 10 years developing an exact replica of the adult human body - including finer details of parts such as brain, skull, neck, ribcage, upper and lower extremities - to study crash impact.
As a next step they plan to extend the technology to create digital models of children.
Dr Rouhana added: "The more you know about the human body, the more we can consider how to make our restraint systems even better.
"A child's body is very different from an adult's. Building a digital human model of a child will help us design future systems that offer better protection for our young passengers."
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