Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Toyota taps Wayne State for research project

Two Wayne State University research groups have been tapped by Toyota to work on projects aimed at improving automotive safety. WSU is one of six universities selected by  Toyota Technical Center, a division of Toyota Motor Engineering & Manufacturing North America work on projects for TEMA's safety research center -- the Collaborative Safety Research Center. 
The CSRC was established in 2010 to support  research focused on increasing the safety of vehicles, drivers, passengers and pedestrians. Over the next five years, the CSRC expects to invest  $50 million to improve vehicle safety. A significant focus will be on reducing the risk of driver distraction and better protecting the most vulnerable traffic populations, including children, teens, seniors and pedestrians.
Of the 10 projects announced by Toyota, WSU will take the lead on two projects. The first, led by Richard Young, Ph.D., research professor of psychiatry in WSU's School of Medicine, and Li Hsieh, Ph.D., associate professor of communication sciences and disorders in WSU's College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, will focus on in-depth research and analysis of a driver's cognitive interaction with in-vehicle technologies. The second, led by King-Hay Yang, Ph.D., director of the Bioengineering Center and professor of biomedical and mechanical engineering in WSU's College of Engineering along with Haojie Mao, Ph.D and Xin Jin Ph.D., post-doc fellows in WSU's Department of Biomedical Engineering, will develop software models of a 10-year-old child and an elderly female human body for crash simulation purposes.
Young and Hsieh will be applying cognition models to traffic safety and driving issues -- a process often used in psychology and cognitive neuroscience areas, but infrequently used in traffic safety and driving issues such as distracted driving.  This project will create a cognitive attention model of driver performance to improve the understanding of driver inattentiveness and distraction. The study will advance the auto industry's understanding of a phenomenon that has been widely blamed for many accidents and injuries on U.S. roads and highways.
Yang and his team of researchers have been developing computerized models of the effects of car crashes on the bodies of young chldren. By Joseph Szczesny


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