GM's H50-1 ATD in action – Click above for high-res image gallery

General Motors has made an unusual donation to the Smithsonian: a crash test dummy. Well, not just any crash test dummy. The company handed over its H50-1 anthromorphic testing device, or ATD, to the museum to help catalog the advancement of vehicle safety in this country. After a full 15 years of service, H50-1 was ready for retirement, and rather than spend his days playing shuffleboard, The General decided to allow him to continue educating by going on display at the National Museum for American History.

GM also donated a slew of other "safety artifacts" along with its ATD. According to the Smithsonian, GM's dummy design helped to set the industry standard for crash safety research. While H50-1 was constructed as a stand-in for the typical male, the company says that it has over 200 ATD designs to represent every sort of vehicle occupant under the sun. We'd like to see that family portrait. Hit the jump for the full press release.

[Source: General Motors]

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GM-Developed Crash Test Dummy Donated to Smithsonian

Pioneering Hybrid III Design is Standard of U.S. Auto Industry Crash Testing


UPDATED: 2010-07-14, 5:00pm, ET

Washington, D.C. -- Please don't call him a "dummy."

H50-1 is an anthropomorphic test device (ATD) representing an average male. And, at a cost of countless arms, legs and sensors over a 15-year career, has taught General Motors and the auto industry a lot about safety.

So, it was only fitting that celebrities, news media, and Washington dignitaries braved the rain Thursday to mark his retirement to the peaceful confines of the Smithsonian Institution's National Museum for American History.

All showed up to recognize the donation of H50-1, a Hybrid III ATD, and other auto safety artifacts to the museum's collection.

Museum director Brent Glass was joined by David Strickland, administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration; former U.S. Transportation Secretary Norm Mineta, and crash test dummies Vince and Larry, who starred in TV and radio spots urging safety belt use.

"GM's Hybrid III crash test dummy set the industry standard," Glass said in noting the donation's importance to the museum.

GM Vice President for Safety Policy Mike Robinson signed the deed transferring H50-1 to the Smithsonian. "Unlike Vince and Larry, this dummy worked for a living. If he could talk, he'd have a great story to tell."

In his remarks (Word doc), Robinson talked about the family of 200 GM ATDs representing all shapes and sizes of vehicle occupants. "Regardless of who is behind the wheel or in a GM vehicle, they get the same high level of occupant protection," he said.

Robinson highlighted the thousands of vehicle tests at GM's Milford, MI Proving Ground and GM employees around the world dedicated to improving auto safety. He said that when it comes to automotive safety, the industry's work is far from done.

"That's why GM remains committed to working with community institutions, government agencies, and non-profit groups to improve safety belt and child safety seat use, promote child safety in and around vehicles, promote teen driver safety, and prevent drunk driving," Robinson said.

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