Even A Dummy Can Get Into The Smithsonian!

July 23rd, 2010 by

Have you ever been to the Smithsonian before? It’s a really cool place filled with tons of history. It takes a few days to see everything in it! I came across this blog from GM Fast Lane and I thought it was pretty neat. As my wife would say, “it’s a cute story.” So enjoy! 

General Motors is formally donating one of its Hybrid III Anthropomorphic Test Devices, commonly known as crash test dummies, to be part of a permanent collection of auto safety artifacts to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History in Washington, D.C. If he could talk, H50-1 might have shared his career highlights thusly before he left the Milford Proving Ground for the nation’s capital.

Hello. My name is H50-1.

Before coming here to the Smithsonian’s National Museum of American History, I spent 15 years going through really awful car crash tests in the hopes that what my safety engineers learned might protect you in a real crash and help you avoid being killed or severely injured.
The kinds of crashes that made Vince and Larry famous in those TV and radio spots were all too real to me.

Until now, I didn’t get the kind of attention they did. I’ve had an exciting existence, but it took a toll on me just like it still does on the other 200 Anthropomorphic Test Devices on the job in Milford.

Since I am humanoid and not human, I really didn’t feel the pain typical for the kind of testing I went through – whether it was being in a car hitting a solid barrier at 35 miles an hour, going through a corkscrew rollover test or being hit from behind in what is called a sled test.

If I had felt the pain, it would still be your gain.

I’ve had more legs, arms, hands and feet replaced than I can remember. I spent a lot of time in the shop getting new instrumentation that collected the crash data that helped engineers refine the safety systems on cars, trucks and crossovers.  For just the 2010 model year alone, I was on board for crash tests in the Chevrolet Equinox, Cadillac SRX and CTS, the Buick LaCrosse, and several other models.

My engineers have used me in out-of-position air bag tests. Those basically show what happens when someone who is not wearing a seat belt hits a deploying airbag. Those bags come out really fast so they can do their job. My buckle-up pals Vince and Larry were right: You can learn a lot from a dummy.

When I look back on my career highlights, it was very cool being part of some of the first tests run in GM’s rollover crash test facility on the other end of the hall from where the barrier tests are done.

Over the years, I got to do some traveling around the United States. In 2003, I was part of the team that went to Nebraska to help with highway guardrail safety studies. The next year, I was shipped to Atlanta as part of a robotics display.

Now that I am here in Washington, D.C.  I guess this is my retirement home. I could have done a lot worse.

Not bad huh? 

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