Give us a call at: 281-480-9847 or toll free at: 877-480-9846.
ATA has built a reputation in the area of special circumstance testing. We have the facilities, resources and experience to plan, format, build and execute any manner of highly unique and individualized special testing scenarios. We have performed testing in a truly wide variety of disciplines, including trucking, automotive, motorcycle, ATV, marine, occupational industrial, products and plenty more!
Check out these ATA NEWSLETTER ARTICLES concerning testing and analysis.
Visit our facilities web page to review our truly versatile ATA TECHNOLOGY CENTER.
ACCIDENT RECONSTRUCTION / BACK TO BASICS
BACK TO BASICS WITH ATA
ATA Associates recognizes the need to do an accident investigation utilizing the proper scientific methodology combined with a cost effective process that can provide an accurate reconstruction of an accident if and when it is required. We call this process,"BACK TO BASICS". Accident related information and evidence, such as accident site marks, vehicles, and electronic data can disappear quickly. Lost or incomplete data can complicate the ability to evaluate and accurately reconstruct an accident. This can lead to issues if litigation of the event occurs at a later time.
View this BACK TO BASICS PLAYLIST to gain further insight on the best ways to approach various elements of an accident investigation:
The following video outlines the actions that shoul be taken in the immediate aftermath of an incident:
Download or print this handy checklist for your own future use:"BACK TO THE BASICS" EVIDENCE PRESERVATION CHECKLIST
Trucking accident reconstruction, as well as heavy trucking systems and safety issues have long been a primary focus for ATA. For a comprehensive description of our activities and involvement in the trucking industry, visit our ATA TRUCKING & AUTOMOTIVE SERVICES WEB PAGE.
Below is a collection of TRUCKING TESTING VIDEOS:
Below is a collection of ATA produced 3D ANIMATIONS featuring trucking incidents:
Also, visit ATA's DRIVER SAFETY TRAINING WEB PAGE to review the variety of training videos that ATA staff have produced. These videos are a product of over four decades of involvement in the trucking industry.
VEHICLE DATA DOWNLOAD - ECM / CDR
Retrieving data from vehicle Crash Data Recorders (CDR) was once a highly specialized and difficult process. It still requires training and expertise to successfully retrieve data without corrupting it. We can retrieve data from vehicle on board computers to include crash data. ATA has the sophisticated equipment and expertise to recover the available data in any vehicle configured for On-Board Diagnostic capability. In fact, we are one of a few firms that consistently keeps up with the myriad of system and equipment updates that are so prevalent in this industry.
THE ATA ADVANTAGE - OVER 20 YEARS EXPERIENCE AND VERSATILITY
ATA technicians have, on several occasions, been able to recover vehicle data when others could not. ATA specialists have
expertise in recovering air bag deployment data (Black Box), and in retrieving data even if the vehicle's power system and
wiring are damaged. In addition to CDR equipment for automotive downloads ATA can interrogate and record system
diagnostic data using MasterTech vehicle diagnostics. Both MasterTech and CDR diagnostics and downloads are provided
as services to our clients for litigation as well as non-litigation use.
ASK THE EXPERT - ECM Download FAQ's:
Check out these ATA NEWSLETTER ARTICLES on data download:
BOATING / MARINE / MARITIME
Bob Swint, the founder and CEO of ATA began his consulting and accident reconstruction career in the pleasure boating arena. He went on to become one of the leading experts in the country in pleasure boat and watercraft accident reconstruction. Amongst the wide range of forensic disciplines that ATA has been involved with, boating accident investigation as well as PWC testing have always been major areas of focus.
Review this VIDEO PLAYLIST of ATA's marine activities, highlighting our versatile testing capabilities and high level forensic 3D graphic animations.
Watch this ATA PRODUCED BOATING SAFETY VIDEO:
Human factors is one of the most critical and far-reaching forensic disciplines there is. Human factors are involved in nearly every incident ATA comes across.
Check out these Human Factors Case Studies to get an appreciation for ATA's background in this forensic discipline.
The study of human factors involves topics such as expectancy, human body motion, judgement of speed and distance, perception reaction, visibility problems and anthropometrics.
Check out these Human Factors Case Studies to get an appreciation for ATA's background in this forensic discipline.
PRODUCTS LIABILITY AND PRODUCTS TESTING
We at ATA do much more than investigate vehicular accidents.
Over the years, there has been a natural evolution to become
involved in the investigation and analysis of product or systems
component related incidents, as well as developing a focus in
the study of product safety.
Check out this VIDEO PLAYLIST, for a more comprehensive sampling of ATA's product testing capabilities:
You will not find a better test, inspection and reconstruction support facility. The 15,000 square foot ATA Technology Center is equipped with an overhead crane and vehicle lift, electrical, shop air, exceptional lighting and a full array of tools and equipment, including a fully appointed fabrication shop. This facility provides a clean, safe, secure, environmentally controlled work space.
The engineering and analysis lab is equipped to perform computer analyses, electrical component testing, limited
small-scale flammability and fluids testing and instrumentation procedures. A sampling of resources includes:
In the course of performing advanced testing over the last forty years, ATA has developed an ongoing relationship with the Houston Stuntmen’s Association, a local resource that boasts a highly skilled group of professional stunt persons that have extensive experience in a variety of venues.
Recent tests include minivan rear door structural loading, failure testing of glass containers, spring rate measurement and testing, hydraulic pump relief valve performance, SUV rollover tests, fuel pump failure mode tests and analysis, air bladder failure testing,stick-steer boat rate-of-turn tests and characterization of water heater thermostat operating parameters in optimal and sub-optimal conditions.
The Petrochemical industry continually experiences a
variety of events including chemical spills, fires, explosions,
personal injury or even death. The severity of such events in
combination with the size and complexity of petrochemical
facilities can make accident investigation extremely difficult.
Thus, investigations need to be initiated quickly and expertly
to ensure the effective collection of evidence and data.
Check out this PETROCHEMICAL VIDEO PLAYLIST, showcasing 3D graphic animations that ATA staff have produced.
ATA has been involved in amusement industry accident reconstruction, park ride testing, park ride safety and analysis for over twenty years. We also lend our expertise in testing, instrumentation, inspection and analysis to support proactive amusement park safety programs across the USA. We have the capability to collect up to 30 channels of simultaneous strain, force, pressure, temperature and acceleration data as well as digital still and video images. In addition, our graphics staff can create outstanding 3-D graphic animations, enabling ATA to correctly diagnose and analyze amusement park accidents.
Our amusement industry support staff, showing their commitment to the improvement of amusement park safety, is also involved in the standards development processes for the industry through participation in ASTM F-24 committees. We have also done extensive waterslide testing and analysis.
Read ATA NEWSLETTER ARTICLES about issues in the amusements industry.
RAILROAD / LIGHT RAIL
ATA has performed railroad accident reconstruction and has been closely involved with the railroad industry for over 40 years. We have not only concerned ourselves with railroad accident investigation and railroad accident analysis, but have also been involved in the study of railroad safety issues, and how improvements can be made to this critical area of public interest.
FORENSIC PHOTOGRAPHY / NIGHTTIME PHOTOGRAPHY
ATA knows the value of quality photographic images. Poor photos
can hurt your project as much as good photos can help it.
ATA puts the latest equipment in the hands of trained professional
photographers to produce clear, concise photos, which can be the
focal point of a case or investigation.
Additionally, we can perform technical and demonstrative photography
geared towards the purposes of forensic and litigation analyses, or
concerning whatever application you may require.
Night Imaging Capabilities
Retroflective Tape in Nighttime Photography and Testing
Case Samples of Nighttimt Testing and Photography
FARO 3D SCANNING & REALITY ANIMATION
Since the beginning of 2012, ATA Associates has been utilizing one of the latest models of the FARO 3D scanner in creating truly life-like vehicle and site images to assist us in our forensic investigations.
One of the advantages in using the 3D scanner is that one person can capture a large, heavily damaged object with a high degree of accuracy in a relatively small time frame. Using photos would place limitations on how large an area one could view with any particular image, and you would be restricted to only the views that the photographer used. Developing a 3D model from photographs would be quite difficult and time consuming and the modeler would never be able to reproduce all the damage patterns accurately. The output from the 3D scanner allows you to view an object from any angle at any scale and every nuance of the complicated damage patterns are recreated digitally.
USE OF SURVEILLANCE VIDEO IN FORENSIC ENGINEERING
It is no longer uncommon to find accidents that have been captured on surveillance video cameras. In fact, we find ourselves utilizing surveillance footage, occasionally from multip[le vantage points, more and more. We study surveillance video to help answer reconstruction questions about the speed, time, distance travelled or path of a vehicle leading up to and during an incident. Just as the contexts of various accidents differ; the information that we can derive from surveillance videos differ.
For the purpose of answering the questions above, the usefulness of the video varies greatly on the video system installed. A time stamp is usually embedded within each frame of the video. In order to determine vehicle speed, it is first necessary to know the frame rate (speed at which the video camera is recording the scene).
ATA supported a successful trial verdict regarding an 18-wheeler accused of making a side turn at an intersection at which a motorcycle traveling well in excess of the speed limit tried unsuccessfully to pass on the right.
The defense involved using multiple surveillance videos to position vehicles and determine the speed of numerous vehicles through the accident sequence. The sequence coordination of non-time stamped surveillance videos was at the heart of the technical approach to the reconstruction in combination with witness testimony and physical evidence collected from the accident scene. Animation and graphic case exhibits put all of the facts of the incident together for the jury’s consideration. The selected video frame grabs shown below represent part of the sequence analysis.
The video above shows the work we did overlaying surveillance video from the day of an incident with video we shot during testing sessions which established the entrance path of an 18-wheeler during said incident.
This incident began when an open-bow fishing boat, known as a “panga”, was spotted near the island by a Coast Guard aircraft on a routine nighttime patrol. An inflatable boat with a crew of four was deployed from the Coast Guard Cutter Halibut to investigate. Video recorded by a forward looking infrared (FLIR) system on the aircraft shows that as the inflatable approached the stationary panga, the panga abruptly accelerated and turned to port. In the collision that followed, the bow of the 30-foot Mexican craft rode up on the smaller Coast Guard vessel.
USE OF GPS IN FORENSIC ENGINEERING
The expanded availability of satellite-based global positioning system (GPS) technology has opened new windows on the measurement and depiction of vehicle motion and location in dynamic situations. The staff at ATA have been finding the use of GPS to have some sort of utility in the bulk of our casework.
GPS equipment has been used to track 18-wheelers operating on highways and city streets in various traffic situations. The GPS location data provided a new, geographic context for the novel interpretation of typical vehicle performance data such as fuel consumption. This contextual interpretation allowed instances of both high and low fuel consumption that were recognized after-the-fact in the test records to be traced back to specific locations and traffic situations. Analysis of the truck driver’s responses in those situations led to an improved understanding of specific driver habits which lead to either enhanced or diminished fuel economy.
Since 2005, ATA has also made use of GPS technology on several occasions to profile arched bridges, causeways and overpasses where line of sight issues might have influenced driver behavior in accident scenarios. The collection of three dimensional GPS location data from a vehicle moving over a long or acutely arched bridge provides a practical means for collecting critical elevation data that could be prohibitively expensive or unreasonably dangerous to collect by more conventional surveying methods.
The use of GPS data has also sproven to be integral in the investigation of marine cases in tracking boat paths during the course of various incidents.
ATA Associates, Inc. has recently acquired a Video VBOX made by RACELOGIC. The unit, which has a wide following in the motorsports community, integrates a global positioning system (GPS) location measurement capability and four independent video cameras. The new device promises to streamline ATA’s already considerable vehicle testing capabilities by promptly providing motion test data automatically synchronized with test video without any of the typically time consuming post-test data and video processing required.
Though designed and marketed primarily as a tool for racecar testing and driver performance monitoring, ATA anticipates other uses for the Video VBOX including boat testing, drive-through surveys of accident scenes and vertical profiling of bridges and roadways in cases where line-of-site issues may be involved in accident reconstruction.
One of ATA’s first tests of the Video VBOX was the collection of a vertical profile of the Kemah Bridge, near ATA’s offices, which compared favorably with other profiles of that bridge previously collected by ATA’s other GPS systems. In the recent bridge test, the Video VBOX was tested head-to-head against a Raven Phoenix 200 GPS receiver, ATA’s GPS profiling tool of choice to date.
Separate from its GPS and inertial motion sensing capabilities, the small size of the Video VBOX’s four lipstick-sized cameras suggest new and interesting possibilities for inspection tasks where synchronized video records from as many as four relatively inaccessible, small interior locations inside a vehicle or other machine might be instructive.
On this case, we used VBox software to gather multiple data fields concerning the dynamics of the above UTV on the path it had taken during an incident. The incident occurred on this very site and resulted in the occupants suffering ejection from the vehicle, resulting in severe injuries.