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Technical Paper

Modeling of a 6×4 Tractor and Trailers for Use in Real Time Hardware in the Loop Simulation for ESC Testing

According to NHTSA's 2011 Traffic Safety Facts [1], passenger vehicle occupant fatalities continued the strong decline that has been occurring recently. In 2011, there were 21,253 passenger vehicles fatalities compared to 22,273 in 2010, and that was a 4.6% decrease. However; large-truck occupant fatalities increased from 530 in 2010 to 635 in 2011, which is a 20% increase. This was a second consecutive year in which large truck fatalities have increased (9% increase from 2009 to 2010). There was also a 15% increase in large truck occupant injuries from 2010. Moreover, the fatal crashes involving large trucks increased by 1.9%, in contrast to other-vehicle-occupant fatalities that declined by 3.6% from 2010. The 2010 accident statistics NHTSA's report reveals that large trucks have a fatal accident involvement rate of 1.22 vehicles per 100 million vehicle miles traveled compared to 1.53 for light trucks and 1.18 for passenger cars.
Technical Paper

Stiffness Coefficients of Heavy Commercial Vehicles

Accident reconstruction specialists have long relied on post-crash deformation and energy equivalence calculations to determine impact severity and the experienced change in velocity during the impact event. In order to utilize post-crash deformation, information must be known about the vehicle's structure and its ability to absorb crash energy. The Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards (FMVSS), the New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), and the Insurance Institute of Highway Safety (IIHS), have created databases with crash testing data for a wide range of vehicles. These crash tests allow reconstruction specialists to determine a specific vehicle's ability to absorb energy as well as to generalize the energy absorption characteristics across vehicle classes. These methods are very well publicized.
Journal Article

Application of Air Brake Performance Relationships in Accident Reconstruction and Their Correlation to Real Vehicle Performance

This research paper builds onto the wealth of technical information that has been published in the past by engineers such as Flick, Radlinski, and Heusser. For this paper, the pushrod force versus chamber pressure data published by Heusser are supplemented with data taken from brake chamber types not reported on by Heusser in 1991. The utility of Heusser's braking force relationships is explored and discussed. Finally, a straightforward and robust method for calculating truck braking performance, based on the brake stroke measurements and published heavy truck braking test results, is introduced and compared to full-scale vehicle test data.
Journal Article

Comparison of Heavy Truck Engine Control Unit Hard Stop Data with Higher-Resolution On-Vehicle Data

Engine control units (ECUs) on heavy trucks have been capable of storing “last stop” or “hard stop” data for some years. These data provide useful information to accident reconstruction personnel. In past studies, these data have been analyzed and compared to higher-resolution on-vehicle data for several heavy trucks and several makes of passenger cars. Previous published studies have been quite helpful in understanding the limitations and/or anomalies associated with these data. This study was designed and executed to add to the technical understanding of heavy truck event data recorders (EDR), specifically data associated with a modern Cummins power plant ECU. Emergency “full-treadle” stops were performed at many combinations of load-speed-surface coefficient conditions. In addition, brake-in-curve tests were performed on wet Jennite for various conditions of disablement of the braking system.
Technical Paper

Development of a Computer Controlled Automated Steering Controller

This paper describes the design and development of the hardware, electronics, and software components of a state-of-the-art automated steering controller, the SEA, Ltd. ASC. The function of the ASC is to input to a vehicle virtually any steering profile with both high accuracy and repeatability. The ASC is designed to input profiles having steering rates and timing that are in excess of the limits of a human driver. The ASC software allows the user to specify steering profiles and select controller settings, including motor controller gains, through user-interface windows. This makes it possible for the test driver to change steering profiles and settings immediately after running any test maneuver. The motor controller used in the ASC offers self-contained signal input, output, and data storage capabilities. Thus, the ASC can operate as a standalone steering machine or it can be incorporated into typical existing, on-vehicle data acquisition systems.
Technical Paper

Application of Force Balance Method in Accident Reconstruction

In the field of accident reconstruction, there has been a significant amount of effort devoted to the calculation and derivation of vehicle crush energy and vehicle stiffness. Crush energy is usually calculated with a crush profile and crush stiffness. But, oftentimes, crush profiles and/or crush stiffnesses are not available and accident constructionists face the situation of insufficient information. In some such cases, the force balance method can be used to reduce the uncertainty. The method follows from Newton's Third Law, i.e., the impact force exerted on one vehicle is balanced by the force exerted on the other vehicle. With the help of this method, crush profile or crush stiffness can be derived. As a result, the crush energy can then be calculated with improved accuracy. This ultimately increases the accuracy of the overall accident reconstruction. In this paper, examples will be given to illustrate the use of such a methodology.
Technical Paper

Vehicle Characterization Through Pole Impact Testing, Part I: Vehicle Response in Terms of Acceleration Pulses

The shape of an acceleration pulse in an impact is not only affected by the change in velocity, but also by the geometry and stiffness of the both the striking vehicle and the struck object. In this paper, the frontal crash performance of a full-size pickup is studied through a series of impact tests with a rigid pole and with a flat barrier. Each rigid pole test is conducted at one of four locations across the front of the vehicle and at impact speeds of 10 mph, 20 mph, or 30 mph. The flat barrier tests are conducted at 10 mph, 15 mph, 20 mph, and 30 mph. The vehicle crush and acceleration pulses resulting from the pole tests are compared to those resulting from the barrier tests. The severity of pole impacts and the severity of flat barrier impacts are compared based on peak accelerations and pulse durations of the occupant compartment.