A lot has happened!

A lot has happened

It’s been a long time since the last blog post but a lot has happened since last spring.

I had an excellent week at WCX17 in Detroit where I was fortunate to have the opportunity to present the latest research on frozen speedometers. I apologise to those who were there who had to listen between my bouts of coughing after a heavy aircon cold. However it was a great opportunity to speak to the engineers working on the next generation of vehicles. I spent some time chatting with the guys who designed and built the new Ford GT – it really is a stunning car made from very lightweight materials – even the windscreen is made from gorilla glass to save weight. I also had chance to chat to the team running the prototype autonomous vehicles. These new cars sense what is around them and learn as they go building a 3D picture of their environment and understand the difference between a building and a parked truck. Again, very clever stuff.

Ford GT

Ford GT

Since then, the summer involved more research. This time I became a crash test dummy at the yearly ITAI crash test day at Bruntingthorpe. We were looking at the contact marks left after rear end and side impacts at speeds below 20 mph.

The next big event was the EVU conference in October in Haarlem near Amsterdam. Collision Science was a conference sponsor. We had a stand where we launched a new book called ‘Finding Order in Chaos – The manual of Collision Scene Evidence’. We have co-authored the book with Per Bo Hansen from DanCrash in Denmark.

Finding Order in Chaos

Finding Order in Chaos

The book is aimed at practitioners who attend the collision scenes and need to understand what evidence can be present and how to record it. The book has been well received with copies being sold across Europe, USA and South Africa.

Here are some of the comments made.

M.C. “An excellent book, well written and interspersed with great quality photographs. A great read for CI’s new and old”.

N.L. “Very useful and pulls a lot of information together into one place that was previously scattered across various platforms. A must for new and dare I say old CI’s”.

A.W.L “A good read’.

G.D. “This is an excellent reference book for those experienced in the field and an essential purchase for those starting out. Highly recommended”.

A new page has been added to this website for online orders at https://collisionscience.co.uk/book/

October also saw me able to spend some time helping in Newquay Cornwall at the Bloodhound slow speed trials. When I say slow, I mean it reached 210mph in 7.95 sec! This was the first time the car had run and to say it went better than expected is an understatement. One of the advantages of being a Bloodhound Ambassador is that you can talk with the rest of the engineers and crew. I was chatting to Andy Green, the driver and he was saying that with the jet engine at idle the car would still do 60mph and he had to hold back on the runs because the car just wants to go faster!

Me and a 1000mph car

Me and a 1000mph car

SAE WCX17 in Detroit, Michigan

This time last year I was very fortunate to be invited to the World Reconstruction Exposition in Orlando. As part of the week’s activities I gave two lectures on the current research in finding out what happens to the instrument needles in a collision.

EPSON DSC picture

Frozen Instruments

It was a fantastic week with lots of information to be had. I had written a technical paper to go with the lectures, however unless you were there you did not get the paper.

The research is now being used across the world with useful results. Analogue dials will still be around for many years to come and I still have lots of interest from Collision Investigators around the world who ask about the details of the research and for documented research to present to courts. So with a little additional editing I submitted a technical paper to the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE). The reference number of the paper is 2017-01-1412 and can be found here.

The SAE writes many of the standards for the automotive world and is a leading publisher of research papers.

It has been a long process of peer reviews but at the start of next month I am delighted to say I am presenting my research at the SAE’s World Congress Experience (WCX) ( www.wcx17.org ) in Detroit, the home of the US automotive industry.



WCX17 will see 12000 of the automotive industries innovators gather to exchange ideas over three days.

There are hundreds of technical lectures and suppliers presenting the latest in automotive technology. It really is the place to see where what the automotive technology in the next 5 years will look like.

If anyone is going to WCX17 please come and say hello. Its a long way to travel but I really am looking forward to meeting everyone.


The crash testing continues!

The end of June saw some more testing at a huge Collision Reconstruction event organised by the UK’s Institute of Traffic Accident Investigators (http://www.itai.org/ ) and held at Bruntingthorpe Proving Grounds (http://www.bruntingthorpeprovingground.com/ ) in Leicestershire.

This event has grown to be a regular event that is open to everyone and attracts an audience from across the world. Over a dozen full speed crash tests were conducted during the day involving pedestrians, cyclists, cars and even an Ambulance! Plus there were a series of low speed tests, autonomous  brake testing and HGV visibility tests. There really was something for everyone. These types of crash tests are normally held in secret for internal use by vehicle manufacturers but here everyone can video, photograph what they like and have access to the data from the crashes. The fastest test was a Mazda 6 striking the side of a Ford Mondeo at 76 mph which was spectacular!

I was here to conduct some more testing into how speedometers behave during collisions. This time all the speedometers were from motorcycles. The experiment was a bit of an experiment in itself as the instruments were attached to the car using Velcro which would hopefully allow the clusters to rip free during the impact in much the same way as motorcycle speedometers can detach in real world collisions. I am happy to report that the method worked perfectly with a clean release in every impact.

The impacts were recorded in slow motion by Ix Cameras (http://www.ix-cameras.com/ ) and in their footage you can see some of the instrument clusters being released at impact amid a shower of glass.

There is a huge amount of material still to work through but I obtained some useful data and will have a better idea of how motorcycle instruments behave in crashes. Expect to see an article in a journal soon.



In other news I recently went to  the automotive supply exhibition called, Automechanika in Birmingham. It was a great day with lots to see. I found this cut away Jaguar which nicely shows the crash components of the chassis.

Jaguar cut away

Jaguar chassis components

This photo is very useful to show where the various crash components are.

The Largest Crash Reconstruction Conference in the World!

In May I was invited to attend the WREX 2016 crash reconstruction conference as a guest speaker.

WREX has now been written into the history books as the largest crash reconstruction conference in the world. Almost 900 crash reconstruction experts from around the world centred on Orlando, Florida for a week of lectures, crash testing, demonstrations and networking.

WREX Crash Day - Reconstruction Group Photo

wrex2016 group

A few of us gathered for a group photo. I am in the front row with the dark blue ‘T’ shirt and baseball cap second from the left!

The second day was dedicated to conducting crash testing. The day saw 15 Full scale crash tests in the grounds of Orlando Airport. Any one of the tests would be considered a spectacular major incident if they occurred in a public environment.

A compilation of some of the crash tests can be seen here.

Never one to miss an opportunity, I managed to recover some speedometers from a couple of crashed motorcycles. The bikes had some interesting readings that will need some more research.

There was also a really interesting crash in which two cars of exactly the same model (there was only one digit difference between chassis numbers) same speeds and same but opposite orientation came together. The resultant impact was spectacularly symmetrical. Even the debris field was a mirror image of the other.

I gave two lectures on how and when to use speedometer readings during the week and was very pleased by the interest shown. This was new technique for many of the reconstruction experts and many of the delegates indicated this was something they would use in future. I also ran an evening poster presentation stand which was a new technique for me but really enjoyed the experience and the chance to talk one to one with delegates.

IMG_6725Jason Vice from the Alabama Highway Patrol and I.

The last day gave me the opportunity to catch a visit the Kennedy Space Centre. What an amazing place and truly inspirational.

Kennedy Space Centre

The Space Shuttle

The Space Shuttle Atlantis

It was a fantastic week, I learnt lots, made good friends and now have a load of new data to investigate.

Are you going to WREX2016 ?

WREX 2016

WREX2016 logo

It’s almost 2 weeks until the largest reconstruction conference in the world. WREX, the World Reconstruction Exposition is being held in Orlando, Florida.  You can find the full details at www.wrex2016.com

WREX2016 will be the first World Reconstruction Exposition that has been held since the year 2000. The event is being sponsored by 21 crash associations from the US, Canada, and around the world. WREX 2016 IS the largest training event for crash investigators that has ever been held.

This is a rare event. The next WREX event is not planned until 2025!

I am delighted to say that I have been invited to WREX2016 as one of the guest lecturers.

The subject for my lecture is how speedometers behave during a collision. The lectures are based on eight years of research. The phenomenon of a speedometer and indeed all the gauges within an instrument cluster to apparently lock and freeze at the moment of impact depends on two principle factors. Firstly that the impact must cause the lost of electrical power to the instrument and secondly that the electronic stepper motor used to drive the needle must hold the position of the needle during the shock of the impact.

We have produced a set of criteria to help ensure the principles apply.

As it happens some collisions are excellent at having the right conditions to produce a reliable frozen position while other are quite frankly useless.

It’s the ability to test and determine when to accept or reject the reading that is the subject of the presentations in Florida.

To date the research has produced some excellent results and in 2013 I won an award from the EVU (evuonline.org), the European Association for Accident Research and Analysis for the best research paper.

I am very much looking forward to meeting fellow reconstruction experts from around the world.

BBC Crash Insurance Fraud Documentary Appearance

Chris Goddard from Collision Science appeared on a BBC Documentary program investigating Crash Insurace Fraud recently. You can watch the full documentary below, or watch it on the BBC iPlayer.