Browse Publications Technical Papers 07-12-02-0012

Side Airbags Deployment Range from Analysis of Event Data Recorder Database of Real-World Incidents 07-12-02-0012

This also appears in SAE International Journal of Passenger Cars - Electronic and Electrical Systems-V128-7EJ

One of the techniques that accident reconstructionists and experts utilize to define the severity of an accident is based on the airbag deployment thresholds. As such, if during an event, the airbags did not deploy, it is concluded that the threshold could be considered as the upper bound for the forces and the accelerations that the vehicle experienced as a result of the impact. The National Highway Transportation Safety Administration (NHTSA) provides a database based on their investigations on motor vehicle accidents in which some of these investigations involved imaging the airbag control module (ACM) data. NHTSA made these data publicly available. The goal of this study was to analyze the event data recorder (EDR) data from these real-world incidents with a focus on the events in which vehicles’ side airbags were deployed as a result of the impacts and determine the lower-bound side airbag deployment thresholds during real-world cases. In addition, this study is focused on the method of calculating the acceleration thresholds for airbag deployments and proposes an adjustment method that fits more adequately with the airbag module algorithm. Moreover, this article statistically studied the data to evaluate how the data may differ based on the crash type, vehicle body type, and manufacturers. The results showed that the lower limit for the maximum lateral acceleration of side airbag deployment is 3-5 g (g is the acceleration due to gravity). The corresponding lateral change in velocity (or delta-V) at maximum lateral acceleration was also calculated and analyzed. Ultimately, the study provides a range of lateral accelerations for side airbags deployment, which can be utilized to evaluate the severity of motor vehicle collisions. The analysis of the airbag deployment trigger points from the dataset is in general agreement with published data.


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