Visibility driven design of new modularized Volvo car tophat structure 2008-36-0126
To find weight efficient structure solutions has always been a major issue for vehicle manufactures to support low emissions and good handling properties. In the same time, a lot of work has been carried out in the area of passive safety, e.g. larger structures to handle crash forces, negatively leading to structural components occupying more space which affects the possibilities of good vision leading to decreased active safety, i.e. difficulties to view and detect traffic situations.
The main driver in this study has been active safety represented by driver visibility. The reference model used for the study was the Volvo V50. Based on this car model a number of conceptual ideas have been studied based on the three project targets Visibility, Weight and Modularization. Beside outside visual requirements definitions, visibility has been verified for each of the developed conceptual designs. Methods used have been monocular vision analysis in a horizontal plane, ambinocular spherical projection analysis and also virtual reality driver simulations in a city environment. Main focus has been to minimize obstruction by the A- and B-pillars as well as optimizing and widening forward direct vision. The result of this project is a modification of the vehicle body side structure and a substantial weight reduction was gained. The resulting concept is based on the idea of reducing the uniside structure covering the vehicle body side structure in the reference vehicle, were new slimmed A- and B-pillars have created optimized and widening forward direct vision.