> Technology – Introtech Crash Reconstruction

In addition to our vast experience, specialized training and education, the staff at Introtech uses the latest technology to measure and analyze the physical evidence from the crash scene, the vehicles and the overall environment.

Many modern vehicles may contain additional vital evidence from on-board navigation systems, air bag control modules, engine control modules, power train control modules, advanced braking systems and other systems  The Introtech staff has the training, hardware and software to collect and properly analyze this data.

Our staff is trained and experienced in the technical aspects of the analysis of environmental issues, traffic control devices, navigation systems, human factors, biomechanics and other specialized issues that directly relate to transportation casualties. We apply this technical knowledge to the land, marine and aviation environments.

We employ sophisticated computer programs as well as computer simulations to assist us in our analysis and calculations of crash events.  We have the in-house capability of preparing 2-D/3-D animations and other exhibits such as CAD drawings and power point presentations to graphically demonstrate our opinions to the trier of fact.

3D Crash Site Scanners

Introtech utilizes many sophisticated tools in order to forensically document evidence.  One of the more sophisticated devices is the Faro© Focus³D scanner.  The scanner takes 3-D laser images in a horizontal range of 360° and a vertical range of 305°.  The laser beam is emitted from a rotating mirror and then is reflected back to
the scanner from any object in the direct line of sight of the laser beam. Within minutes the scanner produces highly detailed three-dimensional images of even the most complex scenes or objects.  The laser can be moved to multiple locations around an object or scene and then in the software program, all of the various images are stitched together for a complete 3-D view of the object. The resulting images are a compilation of millions of 3D measurement points that generate a precise documentation of the scanned object.

There are many advantages to employing the scanner including real world imaging preserved in a virtual 3D world, speed, accuracy, critical measurement capability, modeling, documenting large outdoor scenes, measuring vehicle crush, crime scene documentation and imaging complex geometric shapes such as boats.

It is not always necessary to use the scanner, but when required the scanner allows for extreme accuracy and detail not otherwise possible through traditional measurement techniques.  It is a high precision tool in the investigators tool box that provides us with the unparalleled ability to document evidence to a +/- 2mm accuracy.  The scanner also takes high resolution 70 megapixel photographs of whatever is scanned.  The data obtained from the scanner can also be meshed together with other traditional documentation techniques such as total station measurements for a comprehensive analysis.  The point cloud data from the scanner is also compatible with simulation and animation programs that we use for our reconstruction calculations and analysis.

Most of Introtech’s staff has been trained by factory representatives in both the hardware and software for the scanner.

Accelerometer

When it is necessary to measure vehicle acceleration performance we utilize the VC3000DAQ to determine speed, acceleration (both lateral and longitudinal), time, distance and g forces. The data can be displayed in tabulated or graphical formats. We have used this instrument to measure vehicle performance for a wide variety of vehicles including construction equipment, commercial vehicles, motorcycles, warehouse equipment, boats and passenger vehicles. The external sensors of the VC3000DAQ can also be installed to measure acceleration of objects inside of a vehicle such as the occupants, wheelchairs, cargo, etc.

 VC3000 DAQ

Many of the standard coefficient of friction charts are outdated and must be applied to a particular case with prudence. At times the most effecive way to determine the coefficient of friction of a road surface is to conduct a set of test skids. We use the Vericom VC2000 perforance computer or the VC3000DAQ, depending on the unique aspects of a case. To supplement friction testing, we also have a variety of drag sleds for motorcycle tire friction evaluation.

Not every case requires a set of test skids. To assist in determining the probable friction of a road surface we have compiled a statistical analysis of the hundreds of test skids we have conducted throughout the United States.

Setting up VC3000DAQ with external sensors to record occupant kinematic and biomechanical parameters

VC2000 Performance Computer

Another valuable tool is the VC1000 reaction tester which when necessary, we use to measure the reaction time of a particular driver. The VC3000DAQ can also be configured to measure reaction time.

VC1000 Reaction tester

Annimations and Graphics

Failure to Yield Pre-Impact Overhead View

Head-On Crash Final Rest Overhead View

Intersection Crash At Impact Overhead View

Pedestrian Crash Pre-Impact Driver’s View

Electronic Control Modules

The use of electronic data in conjunction with traditional methods of crash reconstruction is becoming more common and more complex. While the “Big 3” domestic automobile manufacturers (GM, Ford and Chrysler) have all previously provided access to this electronic data, the foreign manufacturers are now also beginning to provide access to their electronic data as the deadline for Part 563 of the Federal Regulation which mandates the eventual uniformity of collection and reporting looms closer. In 2011 Toyota (the second largest vehicle manufacturer in the United States) began to provide access to their electronic data and other foreign manufacturers are expected to follow in their footsteps.  New manufacturers are allowing access to the data (each year).

Electronic data recorded during the onset of an event may be stored in a variety of components which compose the vehicles electronic control systems such as; the airbag control module (ACM), powertrain control module (PCM) or the rollover sensor (ROS). These electronic modules independently or communally contain event data recorders (EDR’s) which store the systems status and/or severity of the crash pulse. While the training and experience necessary to recover these modules, or simply image a copy of the data they contain, has remained relatively consistent the training to analyze the data and what it means is constantly evolving.

Similarly, the acceptance and admissibility of this electronic data is constantly being reviewed and refined by the court systems both locally and on a state-by-state basis.Introtech personnel routinely assist local law-enforcement agencies and prosecutors with the execution of search warrants to secure the electronic data for the use in criminal prosecutions.

 

Forensic Mapping

Forensic mapping is the process of mapping scene evidence to produce accurate scale diagrams.  A working scale diagram is often crucial in the reconstruction of a transportation crash.  Time, speed, distance and human factor analyses require the examination of evidence in its precise dimension and proper spatial relationship. Introtech uses ES Series Topcon and Sokkia theodolites to map scenes and other evidence.

With the measuring data collected along with scene photos and video, Introtech’s graphics department utilizes the latest computer aided design (CAD) software to produce high quality demonstrative exhibits.  Our in-house graphics department utilizes foam board exhibits, PowerPoint presentations, 3D animations and simulations to enhance the jury’s comprehension of our opinion and its foundation.  Many of our clients have successfully used our exhibits in mediations and arbitrations.

Introtech recently purchased the accident reconstruction software ARAS 360 HD.  This program is the latest and most innovative 3D animation and simulation product on the market today.  Animations are being used with greater frequency in courtrooms as impressive visual aids that visually demonstrate the results of our reconstruction.

Scale Diagram of Crash

Total Station

In addition to traditional hand measurement tools, Introtech employs total station forensic mapping technology to deliver extremely accurate short and long range laser measurements of vehicles and scenes.  The total station determines distance between the instrument and the target object.  The total station (theodolite) computes horizontal distances and slopes from the instrument to the prism and then the instrument microprocessor computes other measurement components such as target data, elevation, x & y components, slope and azimuth.

Working as a team our investigators thoroughly consider what measurements are important to an investigation and employ the total station to forensically map the crash location or vehicle.  Many police agencies also use total station measurements and we incorporate the law enforcement measurements with our measurements to develop a comprehensive after crash situation map.  When used in conjunction with our 3D scanner, the total station datagenerates highly accurate 3D images which are used to forensically analyze of all documented evidence points.

Introtech is in the process of upgrading our total station inventory from Sokkia Set 6e stations to the ES Series Topcon reflectorless total stations.  With the new Topcon stations we have increased the range at which we can take measurements, use Bluetooth® technology, reduce the need to use prism reflectors, improve accuracy and safety.  The new total stations have a range of 4,000 meters with an EDM accuracy of up to +/- 2mm.  Our new total stations feature the use of wireless data collectors that integrate with our computer assisted drafting (CAD) software.  Using the right tool for the right job, whether we employ the legacy Sokkia stations or the upgraded Topcon stations, we apply the appropriate technology for the investigation.

The ultimate end product is the ability to draw and analyze a crash scene or vehicle to scale.  For the most part it is indispensable to have a reasonably accurate scale drawing to investigate and reconstruct a crash to determine how a crash occurred.