The Problem

The National Safety Council estimates 40,000 people were killed and 4.5 million people injured on U.S. roads in 2018. Small overlap crashes (SOL) crashes account for over one-quarter of auto crash fatalities. Despite advances in vehicle safety, SOL crashes where impact takes place off-center in front of the wheel well, have exposed safety vulnerabilities. These vulnerabilities are evident when a car strikes another vehicle, a tree, a utility pole, or a highway barrier on the front corner of the vehicle. With crash energy passing through the wheel well, there is little structure to resist and absorb the generated forces that reach the passenger area. New solutions to absorb those forces are needed and must be lightweight, low-cost, and easy to integrate.

Results of a small overlap crash test on a 2016 Chevrolet Silverado

The Solution

Tesseract’s Uniform Deceleration Unit (UDU) patents-pending technology is based on a composite structure that fits into the wheel well or other parts of a vehicle.  The UDU composite structure consists of a high-strength, low-density cast aluminum ‘foam’ surrounded by a novel high-strength aluminum skin structure.  The UDU structure was designed to limit the transfer of crash forces while maximizing energy-absorbing deformation. By limiting crash forces and absorbing the crash energy, the risk of serious injury or death is dramatically reduced.  In addition, UDU acts as a barrier to help prevent intrusion of vehicle components into the occupant space during an accident.

First generation UDU in preparation for crush testing
Samples of the Uniform Deceleration Unit (UDU) ‘foam’ showing its structure
Key Features
  • Addresses the number one cause of death in automobile crashes
  • Lightweight with a high specific energy absorption rate
  • Minimal structural modifications to vehicle architecture facilitates adoption
  • Design flexibility to suit a wide variety of vehicle platforms
  • High volume manufacturing production potential