Mechanical Engineering Department

Degree Name

BS in Mechanical Engineering




Charles Birdsong


Daimler Trucks North America is creating an advanced emergency braking system which uses radar sensors that detect pedestrians and automatically applies the brakes to bring the vehicle to a stop. To improve and validate their technology, they need a mechanical pedestrian target that can mimic a human walking across the street. However, the assisted braking may not work properly during every test and the pedestrian target must be able to survive impact with a vehicle at low speeds. Four senior Mechanical Engineering students from California Polytechnic State University San Luis Obispo decided to take on the challenge.

The main features of the test dummy are as follows:

  1. The dummy’s shoulders, elbows, and hips articulate under active servo control to imitate human gait.

  2. The soft limbs can be crushed without permanent damage.

  3. The mannequin rests on a platform that is translated by a pulley system.

  4. The speed of translation and frequency of gait vary with separate analog controllers.

  5. The mannequin falls off the platform away from the truck upon impact.

  6. The dummy survives an impact without serious damage and continues to function.