What is SMAC?

General questions on the SMAC, msmac3D and other Collision Simulation programs
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What is SMAC?

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Q: What is SMAC?
A: The acronym SMAC stands for the Simulation Model of Automobile Collisions. The computer program is a time-forward simulation model. With SMAC you set up a mathematical "full scale crash test" using the vehicle weights, dimensions and other properties, you set the initial positions, headings and velocities and start the simulation run. The vehicles collide and run out to rest. You then compare the SMAC predicted positions, orientations at rest and predicted damage with the accident evidence.
SMAC was initially developed for government sponsored research in highway safety.

  • In 1952, a pioneer program in highway safety research, the Automobile Crash Injury Research Program (ACIR), was created with the objective of determining injury causation among occupants of cars involved in accidents, in order that the injuries might be prevented or mitigated through improved vehicle design. By the mid sixties, 31 states had participated in the program and provided over 50000 cases for study [1]. The main criterion for classifying severity in the ACIR program was through the use of comparison pictures of damaged vehicles.
    Also during the 60's, the digital computer came of age. Mainframe computers, which filled entire floors of buildings, cost hundreds of thousands to millions of dollars evolved into time-sharing, batch processing machines. These were used in conjunction with 9-track tapes, card punch machines and terminals to provide to scientists, engineers and others number crunching capabilities unlike any utility ever before imagined. The digital computer quickly became an integral part of scientific research and development.
    In September 1966, President Lyndon Johnson signed the National Traffic and Motor Vehicle Safety Act and the National Highway Safety Act. These established the authority to develop both the Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards and the National Traffic Safety Agency (currently known as the NHTSA). As part of signing the legislation President Johnson stated that "auto accidents are the biggest cause of death and injury among Americans under 35". In 1965, 50,000 people were killed on the nations highways in auto accidents.
    The SMAC computer program was initially created as a feasibility study by researchers at Cornell Aeronautical Lab (currently known as Calspan). The researchers at Cornell were interested in demonstrating the feasibility of a mathematical model of automobile collisions which could achieve improved uniformity and accuracy in the interpretation of evidence in automobile accidents.
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