Pre-Crash-Matrix (PCM) v5.0 format

Contact: pcm(at)


Visualization of an example case in PCM v5.0 format

You can download specifications and (generic) example case here:

PCM is the abbreviation for Pre-Crash-Matrix, and is a specified format to describe the phase of a traffic accident prior to the collision (the so-called pre-crash phase). It describes participants, its dynamics as well as the environment. Initially the VUFO (Institute for Traffic Accident Research at Dresden University of Technology) developed the format in 2011 to provide pre-crash data for accidents investigated within the German In-Depth Accident Study (GIDAS). In January 2019, the format was defined in a more general way. Since then, it is applicable for any accident or scenario database and publicly accessible. As it does not describe further data regarding the accident / scenario (e.g. accident description, accident type, injury severities, et al.), specific analyses should always refer to the linked accident / scenario database.

A PCM case can be created by simulation methods (e.g. accident reconstruction) as well as data recording (e.g. from Event Data Recorders (EDR), Naturalistic Driving Study (NDS), Field Operational Test (FOT), …). The resulting database contains a set of accidents / scenarios in PCM format.

PCM is a “living format” that will evolve in cooperation with their users and partners. Send suggestions for format extensions, new or missing objects (OBJTYPE), mistakes in the specification and especially further libraries (e.g. with your countries specific characteristics) directly to VUFO via pcm(at) In order to provide uniform definitions for all users the extensions can then be in-cluded in the next release.

Simulation & safety system assessment

The development of new active safety systems (Advanced Driving Assistance Systems, ADAS) in-creases in importance for automobile manufacturers and suppliers. These systems are designed to prevent accidents or reduce their severity and thus positively change the future accident scenario.In order to be able to analyze and evaluate the benefits and functional safety of such systems at an early stage of the development process, the simulation of the system in real accidents is of major importance. Based on the accident investigation and reconstruction within the GIDAS project, the real accidents can be changed simulatively by an implemented system and thereby analyzed and evaluated.


Example 1: real accident


Example 1: virtual accident with implemented braking assist


Example 2: real accident


Example 2: virtual accident with implemented steering assist

Due to the large number of accidents in the GIDAS and GIDAS-PCM database, representative conclusions can be made for the German accident scenario and thus questions like:
  • Accident prevention
  • Speed reduction
  • Injury severity reduction
  • Detection and triggering rates of systems
  • And others
can be considered. Examples of safety system assessment:

Reduction of collision speeds
Frequency of system initiation
Design of sensor geometries
Injury risk function

The GIDAS-PCM is based on the GIDAS database. It contains the pre-collision driving behaviour and the static and dynamic values of the participants are available up to five seconds before the first collision. Thus, the GIDAS-PCM enables simulation-based analyses and evaluations of real accidents. The visualization of accidents can be realized in a 2D and 3D environment (e.g. IPG Car-Maker).


2D visualization


3D visualization

Information about GIDAS-PCM:
  • Large database with real accident scenarios
  • Exists since 2011 with accident years as of 1999
  • Investigation areas: Dresden and Hanover
  • Detailed accident environment up to 5 sec. before collision (since 2016)
  • Enables representative statements about the German accident scenario
  • Half-yearly updates with approx. 230 new accidents
  • 9,729 accidents with the following constellations (effective 02/2018):
Proportion of participant types inlcuded in the GIDAS-PCM
Existing interfaces:
  • IPG: CarMaker, TruckMaker, MotorcycleMaker
  • Mechanical Simulation: CarSim, BikeSim
  • TASS international: PreScan
  • dSPACE: Automotive Simulation Models (ASM)