A two-phase experimental program currently in progress is examining the problem of injury-producing body-region contacts with automobile occupant compartment interior surfaces. The study is confined to statistically significant contacts with surfaces other than the steering assembly or sidewall. This paper presents the results of the Phase I effort.
Occupant/vehicle interior impact was simulated using a recently developed Vehicle Interior Impactor test device capable of propelling anthropomorphic dummy body-forms from within the compartment interior. A test methodology was developed which included the specification of relative body-form/vehicle interior impact velocities. Hybrid III 50th percentile male dummy body-forms were utilized in a series of twelve tests in each of three current-production automobiles. Six impact configurations were evaluated,
Head-Face/Windshield, Head-Face/A-Pillar, Chest-Abdomen/Instrument Panel, Lower Extremities/Instrument Panel, Head-Face/Roof Edges, Head-Face/Instrument Panel.
Lower Extremities/Instrument Panel,
Comparative occupant injury and vehicle response data were obtained from electronic instrumentation, high-speed movie film and visual observations. In addition, dynamic force-deflection characteristics were generated for selected body-region/contact surface responses.
The test procedure was shown to constitute a promising technique for assessing the relative injury potential of vehicle occupant compartment interior systems. Phase II of the program, currently in progress, will address the development, testing and evaluation of production-feasible compartment interior modifications in one test vehicle for the purpose of reducing the severity of this trauma.