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Tesseract Structural Innovations is developing new solutions for vehicle safety. Its flagship product, the Uniform Deceleration Unit or UDU, is a unique structure that has the ability to absorb an enormous amount of energy during a vehicle crash. The patented UDU is designed to fit into the wheel well of virtually any light vehicle including cars, trucks, minivans, SUVs, or crossovers. Through its ability to absorb significant kinetic energy, the UDU reduces crash forces to reduce impact shocks and prevent intrusion of vehicle components into the passenger space during the crash. UDU is a major advance in vehicle safety that can save lives and prevent serious injuries.
The Problem: The National Safety Council estimates 37,133 people were killed and 4.4 million people injured on U.S. roads in 2017. Despite advances in vehicle safety, small overlap crashes (SOL), 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. SOL crashes account for over one quarter of auto crash fatalities. 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.
The Solution: Tesseract’s UDU technology is based on a composite structure that fits into the wheel well or other part 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.
Market Opportunity: There are 17 million vehicles sold per year in the US alone. At a projected price point of $200 per UDU unit, with two UDU’s per vehicle (one each on driver and passenger side), the market opportunity in the U.S. is about $6.8 billion. As one example vehicle target, FCA sells about 500,000 RAM trucks each year. Thus, the RAM truck is by itself a $200m annual market opportunity for Tesseract. Revenue ramp-up has the opportunity to be fast as adoption in just the first vehicle can drive a substantial volume of sales.
In October 2020 Tesseract signed a cooperation agreement with Cymat Technologies, the sole North American supplier of aluminum foam
to support the engineering of solutions using that foam to the automotive provides additional opportunities to expand into other applications beyond our core innovation arenas.