You know how it's easier to enjoy fast food when you don't have any idea what goes into making it? It turns out the same holds true with vehicle pedestrian collision systems.


This life-sized marionette jauntily crossing the street helps Toyota develop cars that automatically avoid people, but does it have to be so featureless and creepy?

During Toyota's CES press conference the company revealed that its Collaborative Safety Research Center—or CSRC—had spun off a new company to produce and sell these articulated pedestrian mannequins it had developed in collaboration with Indiana and Purdue Universities.

Affectionately referred to as Steve (and Steve Jr.) the flailing limbs of the animated crash dummies help provide a more accurate real-world simulation of a pedestrian-in-motion's movements so sensors can be tuned to better detect a human in the car's path. And soon every automaker on the planet will be able to buy and use Steve to test their own pedestrian collision-avoidance systems—or just freak out fatigued tech bloggers. [Toyota]