TOKYO, Japan --- Honda Motor Co. Ltd. announced it will begin using its new third-generation pedestrian dummy, POLAR III, in vehicle-to-pedestrian crash tests before the end of this year. Honda's goal is to reduce pedestrian lower back and upper leg injuries that are common in collisions between a pedestrian and an SUV or mini-van.

With POLAR III, the reproduction fidelity for the lower back and upper leg areas has been further improved. Researchers can now evaluate bone fractures in these areas. They already had the ability to evaluate injuries to knee ligaments and fractures to lower leg bones.

In 1998, Honda developed a pedestrian crash test dummy to reproduce the human body's kinematics during vehicle-to-pedestrian collisions. The aim was to identify parts of the vehicle body most often resulting in injuries, and to develop safety technologies to reduce pedestrian head injuries during a collision with a vehicle.

In 2000, Honda broadened the scope of its effort to mitigate pedestrian injuries by developing the second-generation pedestrian dummy, POLAR II. This dummy improved reproduction fidelity of the human body's kinematics and measured the level of injury in eight body areas, including the head and neck. Additionally, Honda conducted simulations in which the kinematics of the body and injuries were reproduced.

With POLAR III, Honda focused on the lower back and upper leg areas, which are vulnerable in a collision with taller vehicles such as SUVs and mini-vans. To improve analysis, Honda further advanced the structure of the lower body, including the lower back and upper leg areas. The automaker reviewed materials and shapes of the dummy to match it more closely to the characteristics of the human body, and compared the characteristics of each body part of the dummy against the human body.

Using these pedestrian dummies, Honda has researched ways to mitigate pedestrian injury. In 1998, Honda developed a vehicle body designed to reduce pedestrian head injuries and applied it to the HR-V, which was released in September of the same year. Since then, Honda has expanded the application of this technology to more models, and it is now applied to all models sold in Japan.