In this Issue:
ATA Testing Supports Expert Testimony
Software Expert Profile
ATA Aquires FARO 3D Laser Scanner
ATA Testing Supports Expert Testimony
by Ed Fritsch
Rulings by the U.S. Supreme Court in the 1990's raised the standards for expert testimony. Prior to those rulings, anyone with knowledge of a subject greater than the average person was usually regarded as an expert on the subject and could testify based upon experience. That changed with the Court's ruling in the case of Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in 1993.
The Daubert ruling established factors judges were obliged to consider in determining the admissibility of testimony from scientists. Among those factors was whether the testimony was based on theory alone, or if it was also supported by the results of testing that had been conducted using methods accepted by the scientific community. A ruling in Kuhmo Tire v. Carmichael in 1999 extended the applicability of the Daubert standards to the testimony of engineers and other technical experts.
In showing a preference for testimony based on testing over testimony based solely upon theory, the Daubert and Kuhmo rulings effectively made testing a necessary foundation for much expert testimony. Following the Court's lead, ATA Associates, which had always offered testing as part of its services, made testing a principle focus of the company's efforts. In the years since Daubert and Kuhmo, ATA has become well known for providing the personnel, expertise and equipment, and facilities needed to conduct tests in a variety of technical areas. An abbreviated discussion of some of ATA's testing capabilities follows.
ATA’s testing experience includes dramatic full scale reenactments of automobile collisions and rollovers and numerous recreational boating mishaps resulting from steering systems malfunctions and operator errors. ATA has also tested the stability and braking performance of a variety of motor vehicles using standard government and industry test protocols.
ATA has tested the stability of two vehicle/travel trailer combinations at highway speeds, the dynamics of roller coaster cars and heavy truck behavior following a steer axle tire blowout. ATA has measured the inertial loads experienced by riders on energetic amusement park rides and inertial forces routinely experienced by passengers on public transportation buses and trains.
In less dramatic but equally important testing, ATA has measured the visibility of stationary and moving vehicles under various nighttime illumination conditions, the effectiveness of confined space ventilation in mitigating carbon monoxide hazards, the forces exerted by garage door openers in various operating situations and the normal and anomalous cycling of electric water heater control circuits.
As part of its services, ATA documents test results through written reports and appropriate electronic data and photos or video recordings. In conducting tests, ATA typically follows previously established testing protocols such as may be found in Federal Motor Vehicle Specifications. However, in unusual circumstances where no established peer reviewed testing protocol exists, as happened in tests that used sandbags to model passenger ejection from an amusement park ride, ATA will prepare appropriate documentation to describe the test method in detail, so the test may be repeated independently.
The Technology Center at ATA offers a unique environment for testing, inspections, technical analysis, photography and storage. Our 7,500 square foot high bay houses a 10 ton overhead crane for safe and secure movement of large objects, a 10,000 pound capacity vehicle lift for inspections, a wood and metal fabrication shop and a photo grid. Additionally, ATA's engineering laboratory has an extensive array of test equipment and diagnostic software.
ATA Expert Profile - Andrew Klausman
AREAS OF SPECIALIZED EXPERTISE
Programming- C, Ada, Lisp, BASIC, Pascal, 8086 Assembler, Fortran, Motorola 68000 assembler, IBM 360/370 Assembler, PL/I.
M.S. Computer Engineering University of Houston Clear Lake, December1995
B.S. Computer Engineering Rochester Institute of Technology, June 1986
Andrew Klausman has over 26 years in developing systems for human spaceflight. This work includes software and hardware development as well as extensive testing and analysis experience. Mr. Klausman has also worked with ATA Associates for the past year as consultant on software and battery issues, including reconstruction of software execution paths based on available data. This work included developing and executing test specifications. Mr. Klausman also has an extensive photography background, including launch photos used by NASA, as well expertise with forensic audio analysis. Mr. Klausman's work has been displayed in the Smithsonian National Air and Space Museum in Washington, DC.
For additional information about Klausman's expertise or a copy of his CV, call ATA Associates.
FARO 3D Laser Scanner
ATA Associates has added a new weapon to our accident reconstruction arsenal - the FARO Laser Scanner Focus3D.
Described on the FARO website as "a revolution in 3D laser scanning," this equipment will streamline ATA's documentation of accident scenes. Using laser technology, the FARO creates highly detailed and accurate images of complex environments in just a few minutes.
Some FARO facts which influenced our purchasing decision include:
Efficiency: The long range of up to 120m, the level sensor, the compactness and ease of use and auto-registration at no extra cost result in up to 50% saving of scan and processing time compared to conventional laser scanners.
Precision and speed: The Focus3D creates a precise, virtual copy of reality in millimeter-accuracy at a blazing speed of up to 976,00 measurement points per second.
That being said, We now have the capability of measuring crush damage in minutes instead of hours and with millions of data points instead of hundreds. This scanner will capture all aspects of the vehicle including scratches, paint transfers, and contact damage all in three dimensions. We can also scan sites quicker and more accurately without missing any evidence because the scanner does not pick and choose the points it takes, it takes them all.
This piece of equipment will revolutionize the way we gather scene and evidence data that can later be used to create realistic and accurate analysis and exhibits.