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Technical Paper

The Consequences of Average Curve Generation: Implications for Biomechanics Data

One method of understanding the general mechanical response of a complex system such as a vehicle, a human surrogate, a bridge, a boat, a plane, etc., is to subject it to an input, such as an impact, and obtain the response time-histories. The responses can be accelerations, velocities, strains, etc. In general, when experiments of this type are run the responses are contaminated by sample-to-sample variation, test-to-test variability, random noise, instrumentation noise, and noise from unknown sources. One common method of addressing the noise in the system to obtain the underlying response is to run multiple tests on different samples that represent the same system and add them together obtaining an average. This functionally reduces the random noise. However, if the fundamental response of each sample is not the same, then it is not altogether clear what the average represents. It may not capture the underlying physics.
Journal Article

What's Speed Got To Do With It?

The statistical analysis of vehicle crash accident data is generally problematic. Data from commonly used sources is almost never without error and complete. Consequently, many analyses are contaminated with modeling and system identification errors. In some cases the effect of influential factors such as crash severity (the most significant component being speed) driver behavior prior to the crash, etc. on vehicle and occupant outcome is not adequately addressed. The speed that the vehicle is traveling at the initiation of a crash is a significant contributor to occupant risk. Not incorporating it may make an accident analysis irrelevant; however, despite its importance this information is not included in many of the commonly used crash data bases, such as the Fatality Analysis Reporting System (FARS). Missing speed information can result in potential errors propagating throughout the analysis, unless a method is developed to account for the missing information.