Browse Publications Technical Papers 2000-01-C039
2000-11-01

Child Occupant Safety - What Might We Expect 2000-01-C039

The air bag safety issues became evident in 1995 and other factors have conjoined to change the climate regarding motor vehicle safety. Traditionally, motor vehicle safety issues have been evaluated based upon the effects upon average adult males. The new climate requires consideration of the effects on persons of differing size and gender. By including consideration of children and women, rulemaking and the applied technologies are able to better optimize safety than is the case when rules are focused only on the average adult male. Automotive electronics serves a key role in the migration from a one-size-fits- all protection to a more customized protection for a variety of occupants. The enhancements have been the most prominent in the area of sensing, be it the sensing and characterization of the crash itself, or the sensing and characterization of occupants in the vehicle. Another area of vast improvement has been the control algorithm for the deployment of various protection devices such as the air bag. Looking forward, I expect this trend of convergence of electronics with crash protection of occupant to accelerate, facilitated by a common electrical architecture and lower cost of automotive electronics. Not far behind that, I expect certain crash avoidance attributes such as obstacle detection and spinout detection to converge with crash protection attributes, with automotive electronics playing a central role.

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