Global engineering is increasingly becoming a practice within the automotive industry. Due to added engineering and manufacturing benefits, more and more new vehicles are being developed with common structure to meet the consumer needs in many local regions. While vehicle development and manufacturing process is becoming global, automotive safety regulations in various parts of the world have not been as uniform. A good example is the differing requirements for dynamic side impact protection of new vehicles. United States National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) and European Union (EU) have each produced their own distinct test procedures such as, different barrier faces, impact configurations, and anthropomorphic test devices (dummies). Although both test procedures have the same final objective estimate occupant responses in side impacts, they differ greatly in execution and emphasis on occupant response requirements.
This paper discusses the differences in both side impact test procedures and vehicle & dummy performance in each case. Both dynamic side impact test data and analytical models are employed for this purpose. A full vehicle dummy-structure finite element is developed to investigate the two test conditions. Comparison of a typical vehicle performance such as, door and bodyside intrusion profiles, contact velocities with dummies, dummy kinematics in both test conditions are examined closely. It is determined that although each test induces different loading and responses, there may be some commonality in impacted vehicle performance. As the side impact regulations are still evolving both in USA and Europe, it appears that a unified approach for developing side impact countermeasures to meet the more demanding test condition may result in test mode simplification and robust side impact designs in new vehicles. One of the ideas examined in this paper is designing global new vehicles with a unified NHTSA/European procedure that simulates NHTSA side impact conditions with two EUROSID1 dummies, one in the front and one in the rear seat of the impacted vehicle.