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Technical Paper

Optimizing Seat Belt and Airbag Designs for Rear Seat Occupant Protection in Frontal Crashes

Recent field data have shown that the occupant protection in vehicle rear seats failed to keep pace with advances in the front seats likely due to the lack of advanced safety technologies. The objective of this study was to optimize advanced restraint systems for protecting rear seat occupants with a range of body sizes under different frontal crash pulses. Three series of sled tests (baseline tests, advanced restraint trial tests, and final tests), MADYMO model validations against a subset of the sled tests, and design optimizations using the validated models were conducted to investigate rear seat occupant protection with 4 Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs) and 2 crash pulses.
Technical Paper

Development, Evaluation, and Sensitivity Analysis of Parametric Finite Element Whole-Body Human Models in Side Impacts

Occupant stature and body shape may have significant effects on injury risks in motor vehicle crashes, but the current finite element (FE) human body models (HBMs) only represent occupants with a few sizes and shapes. Our recent studies have demonstrated that, by using a mesh morphing method, parametric FE HBMs can be rapidly developed for representing a diverse population. However, the biofidelity of those models across a wide range of human attributes has not been established. Therefore, the objectives of this study are 1) to evaluate the accuracy of HBMs considering subject-specific geometry information, and 2) to apply the parametric HBMs in a sensitivity analysis for identifying the specific parameters affecting body responses in side impact conditions. Four side-impact tests with two male post-mortem human subjects (PMHSs) were selected to evaluate the accuracy of the geometry and impact responses of the morphed HBMs.
Technical Paper

Integration of Active and Passive Safety Technologies - A Method to Study and Estimate Field Capability

The objective of this study is to develop a method that uses a combination of field data analysis, naturalistic driving data analysis, and computational simulations to explore the potential injury reduction capabilities of integrating passive and active safety systems in frontal impact conditions. For the purposes of this study, the active safety system is actually a driver assist (DA) feature that has the potential to reduce delta-V prior to a crash, in frontal or other crash scenarios. A field data analysis was first conducted to estimate the delta-V distribution change based on an assumption of 20% crash avoidance resulting from a pre-crash braking DA feature. Analysis of changes in driver head location during 470 hard braking events in a naturalistic driving study found that drivers’ head positions were mostly in the center position before the braking onset, while the percentage of time drivers leaning forward or backward increased significantly after the braking onset.
Technical Paper

Development and Validation of an Older Occupant Finite Element Model of a Mid-Sized Male for Investigation of Age-related Injury Risk

The aging population is a growing concern as the increased fragility and frailty of the elderly results in an elevated incidence of injury as well as an increased risk of mortality and morbidity. To assess elderly injury risk, age-specific computational models can be developed to directly calculate biomechanical metrics for injury. The first objective was to develop an older occupant Global Human Body Models Consortium (GHBMC) average male model (M50) representative of a 65 year old (YO) and to perform regional validation tests to investigate predicted fractures and injury severity with age. Development of the GHBMC M50 65 YO model involved implementing geometric, cortical thickness, and material property changes with age. Regional validation tests included a chest impact, a lateral impact, a shoulder impact, a thoracoabdominal impact, an abdominal bar impact, a pelvic impact, and a lateral sled test.
Technical Paper

Characterization of Knee-Thigh-Hip Response in Frontal Impacts Using Biomechanical Testing and Computational Simulations

Development and validation of crash test dummies and computational models that are capable of predicting the risk of injury to all parts of the knee-thigh-hip (KTH) complex in frontal impact requires knowledge of the force transmitted from the knee to the hip under knee impact loading. To provide this information, the knee impact responses of whole and segmented cadavers were measured over a wide range of knee loading conditions. These data were used to develop and help validate a computational model, which was used to estimate force transmitted to the cadaver hip. Approximately 250 tests were conducted using five unembalmed midsize male cadavers. In these tests, the knees were symmetrically impacted with a 255-kg padded impactor using three combinations of knee-impactor padding and velocity that spanned the range of knee loading conditions produced in FMVSS 208 and NCAP tests. Each subject was tested in four conditions.
Technical Paper

Modeling Vehicle Ingress and Egress Using the Human Motion Simulation Framework

The ease of getting into and out of passenger cars and light trucks is a critical component of customer acceptance and product differentiation. In commercial vehicles, the health and safety of drivers is affected by the design of the steps and handholds they use to get into and out of the cab. Ingress/egress assessment appears to represent a substantial application opportunity for digital human models. The complexity of the design space and the range of possible biomechanical and subjective measures of interest mean that developing useful empirical models is difficult, requiring large-scale subject testing with physical mockups. Yet, ingress and egress motions are complex and strongly affected by the geometric constraints and driver attributes, posing substantial challenges in creating meaningful simulations using figure models.
Technical Paper

Standing Reach Envelopes Incorporating Anthropometric Variance and Postural Cost

Standing reach envelopes are important tools for the design of industrial and vehicle environments. Previous work in this area has focussed on manikin-based (where a few manikins are used to simulate individuals reaching within the region of interest) and population-based (where data are gathered on many individuals reaching in a constrained environment) approaches. Each of these methods has merits and shortfalls. The current work bridges the manikin- and population-based approaches to assessing reach by creating population models using kinematic simulation techniques driven by anthropometric data. The approach takes into account body dimensions, balance, and postural cost to create continuous models that can be used to assess designs with respect to both maximal and submaximal reaches. Cost is quantified as the degree to which the torso is involved in the reach, since the inclination of the torso is a good measure of lower-back load and may be related to subjective reach difficulty.
Technical Paper

Cervical Spine Geometry in the Automotive Seated Posture: Variations with Age, Stature, and Gender

In the mid 1970s, UMTRI investigated the biomechanical properties of the head and neck using 180 “normal” adult subjects selected to fill eighteen subject groups based on age (young, mid-aged, older), gender, and stature (short, medium, and tall by gender). Lateral-view radiographs of the subjects’ cervical spines and heads were taken with the subjects seated in a simulated automotive neutral posture, as well as with their necks in full-voluntary flexion and full-voluntary extension. Although the cervical spine and lower head geometry were previously measured manually and documented, new technologies have enabled computer digitization of the scanned x-ray images and a more comprehensive and detailed analysis of the variation in cervical spine and lower head geometry with subject age, stature, and gender. After scanning the radiographic images, 108 skeletal landmarks on the cervical vertebrae and 10 head landmarks were digitized.
Technical Paper

A Centrifuge Concept for Measuring the Rollover Threshold of Light-Duty Vehicles

Various means for measuring a vehicle's roll stability performance are considered in terms of the pertinence of their test conditions to the rollover crash record, the practicality and quality of the measurement, and their ability to span the performance range of the population of light-duty vehicles. Classical static measures as well as the so-called “maneuver-type” tests that have been under extensive study by the U.S. Dept. of Transportation are specifically addressed. In light of limitations facing the existing methods, the concept of a centrifuge test device is introduced and discussed. The apparatus is comprised of a relatively large machine that mounts a full-sized vehicle tangent to the rotation of a radial arm which revolves at a controlled angular rate. The minimum steady speed of rotation that induces a rollover response in the mounted vehicle corresponds to the static rollover threshold, in units of lateral (or centripetal) acceleration.
Technical Paper

Modeling Population Distributions of Subjective Ratings

Most human figure models used in ergonomic analyses present postural comfort ratings based on joint angles, and present a single comfort score for the whole body or on a joint-by-joint basis. The source data for these ratings is generally derived from laboratory studies that link posture to ratings. Lacking in many of these models is a thorough treatment of the distribution of ratings for the population of users. Information about ratings distributions is necessary to make cost-effective tradeoffs when design changes affect subjective responses. This paper presents experimental and analytic methods used to develop distribution models for incorporating subjective rating data in ergonomic assessments.
Technical Paper

Methods for Laboratory Investigation of Truck and Bus Driver Postures

Few studies have systematically examined the effects of truck and bus workstation geometry on driver posture and position. This paper presents methods for determining drivers' postural responses and preferred component locations using a reconfigurable vehicle mockup. Body landmark locations recorded using a three-dimensional digitizer are used to compute a skeletal-linkage representation of the drivers' posture. A sequential adjustment procedure is used to determine the preferred positions and orientations of key components, including the seat, steering wheel, and pedals. Data gathered using these methods will be used to create new design tools for trucks and buses, including models of driver-selected seat position, eye location, and needed component adjustment ranges. The results will also be used to create accurate posture-prediction models for use with human modeling software.
Technical Paper

Computer Synthesis of Light Truck Ride Using a PC Based Simulation Program

An easy-to-use computer program for ride analysis was recently developed. The result of this effort-RideSim- predicts time history responses, power spectral density (PSD) functions, and a driver oriented measure of ride comfort. RideSim employs a graphical user interface (called SGUI, for simulation graphical user interface) to control data preparation, simulation execution, animation, and data analysis. The SGUI allows the user to operate the program by pointing and clicking with a mouse, rather than by using cumbersome text commands. It also manages the vehicle dynamics parameters, the resulting simulation output, and results of post-processing analyses (i.e., PSD analysis). The vehicle dynamics model was generated with the AUTOSIM multibody dynamics program. This program uses Kane’s Method and computer algebra to create a parametric dynamics simulation that can be easily linked to the SGUI.
Technical Paper

Modeling Assumptions for Realistic Multibody Simulations of the Yaw and Roll Behavior of Heavy Trucks

This paper summarizes how modem computer simulation methods have been used to develop a “fleet” of heavy truck simulation programs called TruckSim Kinematical and dynamical modeling assumptions appropriate for simulating the general three-dimensional behavior of heavy trucks are described to the extent needed to construct such a model in a multibody program such as the AUTOS1M symbolic code generator Alternative kinematical assumptions were tested and compared to determine their influence on the simulation efficiency and accuracy As part of the validation, simulation results for the new programs were compared with results obtained with an older program that was developed by hand
Technical Paper

On-the-Road Visual Performance with Electrochromic Rearview Mirrors

This study was part of a series of studies on variable-reflectance rearview mirrors. Previous work included laboratory studies of human visual performance, field collection of photometric data, and mathematical modeling of the visual benefits of variable-reflectance mirrors. We extended that work in this study by collecting photometric and human-performance data while subjects drove in actual traffic. Three mirror conditions were investigated: (1) fixed-reflectance mirrors in the center and driver-side positions, (2) a variable-reflectance mirror in the center with a fixed-reflectance mirror on the driver side, and (3) variable-reflectance mirrors in both positions. The fixed and variable reflectivities were produced by the same mirrors by overriding the circuitry that normally controlled reflectance in the variable mode.
Technical Paper

A Simulation Graphical User Interface for Vehicle Dynamics Models

This paper describes the architecture and use of a simulation graphical user interface (SGUI) that uses new (1990's) computer hardware and software concepts to provide an easy-to-use environment for simulating vehicle dynamics. The user interacts with windows, buttons, and pop-up menus, in a multitasking environment such as UNIX, Windows®, or Mac OS®. The SGUI reduces the level of computer expertise required of the user. Most information is shown in a graphic context, and “what if?” options are selected by clicking buttons and selecting from pop-up menus. The SGUI is organized as a data base of vehicles, vehicle parts, vehicle inputs, and simulation results. The organization makes it easy for users to assemble the component data needed to (1) simulate new systems, (2) run simulation programs automatically, and (3) view the results graphically. The SGUI is assembled from low-cost software components.
Technical Paper

Laboratory Investigations and Mathematical Modeling of Airbag-Induced Skin Burns

Although driver-side airbag systems provide protection against serious head and chest injuries in frontal impacts, injuries produced by the airbag itself have also been reported. Most of these injuries are relatively minor, and consist primarily of skin abrasions and burns. Previous investigations have addressed the mechanisms of airbag-induced skin abrasion. In the current research, laboratory studies related to the potential for thermal burns due to high-temperature airbag exhaust gas were conducted. A laboratory apparatus was constructed to produce a 10-mm-diameter jet of hot air that was directed onto the leg skin of human volunteers in time-controlled pulses. Skin burns were produced in 70 of 183 exposures conducted using air temperatures ranging from 350 to 550°C, air velocities from 50 to 90 m/s, and exposure durations from 50 to 300 ms.
Technical Paper

Simple Predictors of the Performance of A-trains

Figures of merit describing the performance qualities of multiple-trailer vehicle combinations (for example, rearward amplification) are usually determined from either full-scale vehicle testing or computer simulation analysis. Either method is expensive and time consuming, and restricted in practice to organizations with specialized equipment and engineering skills. One goal of a recent study, conducted by the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute and sponsored by the Federal Highway Administration, was to use basic vehicle properties to develop simple formulations for estimating the performance qualities of multiple-trailer vehicle combinations. Several hundred computer simulation runs were made using UMTRI's Yaw/Roll program. Five common double-trailer vehicle configurations (defined by trailer lengths and axle configurations) were studied. Each of the five vehicles was subject to fifteen parameter variations.
Technical Paper

Characterizing the Road-Damaging Dynamics of Truck Tandem Suspensions

The road damage caused by heavy trucks is accentuated by the dynamic loads excited by roughness in the road. Simulation models of trucks are used to predict dynamic wheel loads, but special models are required for tandem suspensions. Parameter values to characterize tandem suspension systems can be measured quasi-statically on a suspension measurement facility, but it is not known how well they fit dynamic models. The dynamic behavior of leaf-spring and air-spring tandem suspensions were measured on a hydraulic road simulator using remote parameter characterization techniques. The road simulator tests were duplicated with computer simulations of these suspensions based on quasi-static parameter measurements to compare dynamic load performance. In the case of the walking-beam suspension, simulated performance on the road was compared to experimental test data to evaluate the ability of the walking-beam model to predict dynamic load.
Technical Paper

Biomechanical Accident Investigation Methodology Using Analytical Techniques

The purpose of this paper is to describe a combination of state-of-the-art detailed accident investigation procedures, computerized vehicle crash and occupant modeling, and biomechanical analysis of human injury causation into a method for obtaining enhanced biomechanical data from car crashes. Four accident cases, out of eighteen investigated, were selected for detailed reconstruction. Three were frontal impacts while the fourth was lateral. The CRASH II and MVMA 2-D analytical models were used in the reconstruction process. Occupant motions, force interactions with vehicle components, accelerations on the various body segments, and much other information was produced in the simulation process and is reported in this paper along with scene and injury data from the accidents.