Carleton University Crash Dummy (CUCD)

Carleton University Crash Dummy (CUCD)

The Rundown

Carleton University Crash Dummy (CUCD) is a fourth year capstone engineering project within the Department of Mechanical and Aerospace Engineering.

Since 2012, Carleton students have worked to replicate real-life collisions between bicycles and motor vehicles. Data obtained in these collisions has been used to investigate the modes of injury and fatality that occur in real-life collisions and may lead to further research into cycling safety.

Currently, the project involves 24 students in both the Mechanical and Biomedical Mechanical Engineering programs. Recently, the Ottawa Police Force has taken an interest in CUCD, recognizing our endeavor as a valuable teaching tool for collision investigation – and collaboration.

We are currently raising funds to give Carleton engineering students an opportunity to apply their expertise in design, manufacturing, programming, and simulation in a practical setting. Multi-angle video capture will be used to model collisions in a computer simulation. With a collection of 3D simulations available, we hope the greater Ottawa community will also benefit from this project through a greater understanding of the causes of bicycle-vehicle collisions. This project will also directly benefit the Ottawa Police Force, who may be able to use this data for court proceedings.

The Background

Since 2011, more than 10 fatal cycling collisions have occurred in Ottawa. In addition, there are over 300 non-fatal cycling collisions in Ottawa per year. Despite these statistics, cycling continues to increase in popularity for commuters. The CUCD project aims to provide valuable data to improve collision investigations and overall cycling safety overall.

Presently, police often resort to using imperfect pedestrian-vehicle models for collision reconstruction when investigating bicycle-vehicle collisions. This is due largely to the lack of useful empirical data on cycling collisions. This, combined with the limited amount of physical evidence at most crash scenes, makes it a challenge to perfectly conclude the causes of a collision. Through this project, the data collected by CUCD combined with the video reconstructions of experimental crashes will help fill the void in data, allowing Ottawa police to better understand the causes of collisions.

In addition to assisting police with collision reconstruction, CUCD is equipped with sensors and data acquisition equipment that will help assess head trauma seen in cycling collisions. We hope that this data can also be used to further protect against the acceleration and impact forces associated with cycling collisions.

The Rollout

The CUCD funding goal for 2016/2017 is $3000. These funds will be used to purchase the material and equipment required to achieve the project goals:

  1. Creating accurate, repeatable, and dynamically adjustable bicycle-vehicle collisions. This will require refinement and calibration of the launching system electronics, as well as reconstruction of the existing launch track and bicycle support cart.
  2. Develop a biologically accurate modular crash dummy representing a 50th percentile 19 year old male. This requires construction and repair of existing joints from previous dummy iterations, and the development of bio-similar skin that will replicate limbs.  The skin will be produced by the team through a 3D printing system that will be developed concurrently with the dummy.
  3. Develop and refine the process for creating 3D simulations of collision scenarios. This requires recording of high-definition, high-speed video from multiple angles.

The Benefits

Although our project will help the cycling community and improve overall cyclist safety, CUCD is an academically driven project. By funding this project, you will give Carleton students real-world educational opportunities in design, manufacturing, programming, and simulation. Funds raised will also go towards material equipment that will last beyond the academic year and help future project teams refine the systems in order to collect increasingly detailed data.

Reconstruction of the track, cart, and dummy components will allow future project teams to develop new goals. Future goals may include increased data sensing, alternate crash scenarios, and alternate dummy configurations.

Furthermore, the 3D printing equipment developed for this project has applications outside of CUCD. Beyond CUCD, this equipment can be used to print a variety of material types and will give engineering students experience with and a greater understanding of modern rapid manufacturing techniques.


Armand Caron

See Donor Wall