1997-02-24

Development Methodology of an Airbag Integrated Steering Wheel in Order to Optimize Occupant Protection Balanced Against Out-of-Position Risks 970777

With the increasing number of air bags being used in vehicles there has been a corresponding increase in the number of occupants injured or even killed due to air bag deployment, particularly under out-of-position conditions. Current publications addressing the dangers of air bag deployment has led to worldwide public uncertainty on the safe use of these passive restraint components.
A main goal of the air bag module development must be to balance the out-of-position risks with the overall occupant protection performance to reach the highest biomechanical quality.
Further considerations must be given to the development and production costs, quality and styling of the air bag module and steering wheel. Design, function, cost and styling have competing impact during the product development phase. Economic and efficiency factors require new production and manufacturing of systems that use pre-assembled components as assembly groups, such as the so called “high level assemblies.”
Cooperation of system and module design, testing and numerical simulation experts is required to successfully address these concerns. An existing study of an air bag integrated steering wheel as a component of the entire restraint system shows that a strong integration of the CAD, CAE and testing disciplines is the most methodical and effective procedure for restraint system development. The goal of the study is to show and discuss modern, and above all, effective methods for increasing occupant protection. The emphasis lies on the out-of-position occupants.
This study shows the methodology of a development and assessment of a concept for an out-of-position optimized air bag integrated steering wheel. Furthermore, solutions are shown to reduce the out-of-position risks for an air bag integrated steering wheel. The developed solutions are built as functional prototypes. Static deployment tests with a 5th %ile HYBRID III Dummy are performed to analyze and evaluate the effects of the new technology.

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