While the Hybrid III anthropomorphic test device (ATD) family has experienced a lengthy period of development, and is an essential part of vehicle safety regulation, several issues associated with the ATD's head/neck design and the neck dynamic response due to airbag loading have been identified. As a result, the response of the Hybrid III neck under a number of airbag loading conditions could be an “artifact” of the ATD and not representative of the live human. One area of concern relates to the method of incorporating the human neck muscles into the neck response and how this affects the out-of-position (OOP) tests mandated in the new FMVSS 208.
The results of a series of sled and OOP tests are presented in this paper to elaborate on the nature and the magnitude of the ATD's neck response “artifact”. In addition, the complication associated with balancing in-position and OOP requirements as a result of this “artifact” is highlighted. The test results show that even with a very low slope inflator, that takes about 100 ms to inflate the airbag (a low power air bag system), there is still potential for the bag to be caught in the Hybrid III ATD's chin-jaw-neck region resulting in unrealistically high neck tension and moment. This high tension and moment can occur late in the event after the bag is inflated - as late as 90 ms after initiation of deployment.