Browse Publications Technical Papers 2019-01-1223
2019-04-02

Effects of Innovation in Automated Vehicles on Occupant Compartment Designs, Evaluation, and Safety: A Review of Public Marketing, Literature, and Standards 2019-01-1223

In recent years, the discussion around the advent of autonomous vehicles has shifted from “if” to “when.” Commercially available vehicles already incorporate automated vehicle (AV) technologies of varying capability, and the eventual transition to fully automated systems, at least within certain predefined Operational Design Domains (ODD), is largely considered an inevitability. While the full ramifications of this gradual shift and the eventual depreciation of human driver control are still under intense debate, there is broad agreement on one issue –the advent of driverless systems will remove several constraints on the design of vehicle interior spaces, creating the opportunity for innovation. Even at this early stage, vague but ambitious design concepts of purpose specific vehicles – mobile gyms, offices, bedrooms – have been proposed. More grounded designs, such as rotating passenger seats, have also been put forward. However, there are two other points on which general agreement exists – future autonomous vehicles will still carry human passengers, and crashes will still occur, however infrequent or less severe. The uncertainty of the future occupant compartment design and crash population introduces challenges for projecting injury rates and risk in a future vehicle fleet. This paper explores various proposed design changes to the space of the interior of future automated vehicles, the effects of potential changes on occupant safety during collisions, and the capabilities of the existing testing approaches, design tools, and databases to address questions arising from these developments.

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