Descended from a line of prototypes and production models, the THOR ATD has been under continuous development for over 25 years.

From its initial prototype back in 1995, R&D efforts have focused on creating a dummy that is the gold standard in terms of its biofidelity, dynamic response, instrumentation, repeatability, durability and user-friendliness. With the active support of NHTSA and input from researchers and OEMs around the globe, Humanetics is proud to offer up our THOR-50M as the most sophisticated ATD ever designed. 

In July of 2020, NHTSA announced their proposal to specify THOR-50M in its regulations for vehicle safety testing, and to allow OEMs to use this new dummy in place of the older Hybrid III 50th in test protocols for evaluating frontal crashworthiness. As more OEMs start to use THOR in these tests, they will gain a much better understanding of real-world crash trauma, which translates to less trial-and-error development on their part, and improved occupant safety for the consumer. Our advanced THOR-50M represents the future of crash test technology - available today.

thor-50m sitting in chair in lab

With the stalwart Hybrid-III 50th dummy heading into the sunset of its service life, a new challenger advances into the dawn. By now we’ve all heard his roar. He can tell us stories about our vehicles that have yet to be told. He can twist his body like no other before him. He’s more lifelike, more intelligent, and more helpful than our old Hybrid-III friend. He’s a complicated instrument; a testament to an industries’ drive for safety. His innovations will take us well into the future of crash testing and beyond.

Although he sounds like a myth, the THOR (Test device for Human Occupant Restraint) is a reality today. He’s now being used around the world for the next generation of automotive assessments. Both the U.S. and European NCAPs (New Car Assessment Programs) are relying on his sensitive and vast measurement capabilities today. They are bestowing him with power over revised rating systems that will divulge more information to the public on the safety of their new vehicles.

To accomplish these lofty goals, the THOR-50M is advanced in his design and usability. He carries over 150 channels of instrumentation. He has muscle representation in the neck, thorax and legs. His chest deflects in a 4-point, 3-dimensional manner while his abdomen has a 2-point, 3 dimensional function. His spine is equipped with flexible joints in both the thoracic and lumbar regions and his shoulders are designed for better interaction with restraints.

But THOR is not completely new. He was conceived decades ago by the National Highway Safety Administration (NHTSA) and only in recent years began his final journey towards regulation. Beginning in 2009, Humanetics began working with the NHTSA and European safety initiatives like FIT, APROSYS, and THORAX to deliver a new 2012 THOR-50M release with much improved and anticipated modernizations. Since then, THOR has seen even more improvements to enhance his reliability, durability, and accuracy. THOR is now the most advanced Anthropomorphic Test Device (ATD) ever conceived for widespread adoption.

In December of 2015 the U.S. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) proposed updates to their protocols that include provisions for advanced ATDs like the WORLDSID and THOR, to replace dummies like the Hybrid-III 50th which has been in regulation since 1985. Since then, Euro NCAP and ANCAP (Australia) have placed THOR into their 2020 protocols for the first ever usage in a star rating system used to grade the occupant safety of emerging car models on the market. The Chinese NCAP has also included the THOR in their upcoming 2021 revision of testing protocols.

Just recently, NHTSA announced new rulemaking actions to issue a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking to certify and define the THOR-50M, for the Code of Federal Regulations, 49 CFR part 572 by September of 2020. This will pave the way for THOR to formally be used in the U.S. NCAP and then allow the option to use it in FMVSS 208 frontal regulation testing. This is a giant step in leading the way to making our vehicles safer on U.S. roads and saving more lives!

There’s no stopping THOR and that’s great news for the global community of automotive designers and everyday occupants who rely on vigorous testing to understand how safe new vehicles are in today’s quickly evolving technology climate. We at Humanetics have been working diligently to produce the THOR dummies quicker and better than ever before. THOR is an important tool for the Crash Test Industry, and now with over 200 Humanetics THORs in the field, rest assured, it’s in good hands.


THOR timeline showing evolution of the dummy

Mark Brown

Mark is the Product Marketing Manager at Humanetics Safety and works closely with Engineering and Sales to develop and refine content that is both useful and informative for our industry. With over two decades of experience in crash test dummy product Quality, Technical, Sales, and Marketing, Mark produces a wide range of media and publications from our service bulletins, webinars, editorial articles, and marketing collateral.