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Technical Paper

NHTSA'S crashworthiness modelling activities

2001-06-04
2001-06-0178
NHTSA uses a variety of computer modelling techniques to develop and evaluate test methods and mitigation concepts, and to estimate safety benefits for many of NHTSA's research activities. Computer modeling has been particularly beneficial for estimating safety benefits where often very little data are available. Also modeling allows researchers to augment test data by simulating crashes over a wider range of conditions than would otherwise be feasible. These capabilities are used for a wide range of projects from school bus to frontal, side, and rollover research programs. This paper provides an overview of these activities. NHTSA's most extensive modeling research involves developing finite element and articulated mass models to evaluate a range of vehicles and crash environments. These models are being used to develop a fleet wide systems model for evaluating compatibility issues.
Technical Paper

Comparative Studies of Neck Injuries of Car Occupants in Frontal Collisions in the United States and in the Federal Republic of Germany

1981-10-01
811030
Parallel and coordinated accident studies were conducted in the United States and in the Federal Republic of Germany to determine the extent, the level, and the comparability of neck injuries in automotive accidents as reported in the National Crash Severity Study (NCSS), and the Association of German Automobile Insurers (HUK-Verband) files. To determine the comparability of the two data sets, three primary evaluation criteria were used: 1) the distribution of overall injuries by AIS level by various occupant parameters, 2) the risk of occupant AIS injury vs. delta V, and 3) the distribution of neck injuries by AIS for restrained vs unrestrained occupants. Frequencies and severities of neck injuries in car accidents were compared in parallel layouts between the two data sets in frontal, side and rear impact modes. In further breakdown the frontal impact file was separated into driver/passenger and male/female categories.
Technical Paper

Reducing the Risk of Driver Injury from Common Steering Control Devices in Frontal Collisions

1999-03-01
1999-01-0759
Steering control devices are used by people who have difficulty gripping the steering wheel. These devices have projections that may extend up to 14 cm toward the occupant. Testing indicated that contact with certain larger steering control devices with tall rigid projections could severely injure a driver in a frontal collision. In order to reduce this injury risk, an alternative, less injurious design was developed and tested. This design, which included replacing unyielding aluminum projections with compliant plastic ones, produced significantly lower peak contact pressure and less damage to the chest of a cadaver test subject, while maintaining the strength necessary to be useful.
Technical Paper

Reverse Engineering Method for Developing Passenger Vehicle Finite Element Models

1999-03-01
1999-01-0083
A methodology to develop full-vehicle representation in the form of a finite element model for crashworthiness studies has been evolved. Detailed finite element models of two passenger vehicles - 1995 Chevy Lumina and 1994 Dodge Intrepid have been created. The models are intended for studying the vehicle’s behavior in full frontal, frontal offset and side impact collisions. These models are suitable for evaluating vehicle performance and occupant safety in a wide variety of impact situations, and are also suitable for part and material substitution studies to support PNGV (Partnership for New Generation of Vehicles) research. The geometry for these models was created by careful scanning and digitizing of the entire vehicle. High degree of detail is captured in the BIW, the front-end components and other areas involved in frontal, frontal offset and side impact on the driver’s side.
Technical Paper

A Database for Crash Avoidance Research

1987-02-23
870345
A database derived from information obtained in state police accident reports has been developed to support problem identification and counter-measure development in crash avoidance research. This database is sufficient in size to permit analyses of the relationship between specific vehicle design characteristics and crash involvement. Preliminary analyses of this database suggest that is is comparable with the nation's crash experience.
Technical Paper

Antilock Systems for Air-Braked Vehicles

1992-01-01
890113
When a heavy vehicle driver (or in fact a driver of any vehicle) makes a brake application that is too "hard" for conditions - especially when the vehicle is lightly loaded or empty and/or the road is wet or slippery - he is likely to lock some or all of his wheels. Under these conditions, the tractor can jackknife or the trailer can swing out of its lane (if it is a combination-unit vehicle) or the truck can spin out (if it is a single-unit vehicle). Incorporation of an antilock brake system addresses the wheel lock and resultant control loss.
Technical Paper

Occupant Injury Patterns in Crashes with Airbag Equipped Government Sponsored Cars

1987-11-01
872216
In 1983, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated two air hag vehicle fleet programs. The objective was to demonstrate that both original equipment and retrofit air bag systems operate in vehicles as intended. As of July 1, 1987, the two fleets together have accumulated over 200 million miles. Data are presented for 112 crashes involving air bag deployment in these government sponsored fleet vehicles in service between 1984 and July 1, 1987. Of the 112 drivers involved in the crashes, 103 sustained either no injury or only minor (AIS 1)[1]1 injuries. Of the nine remaining cases, six were AIS 2 and three AIS 3. To date, the limited data indicate that the air bag deployed as expected in all frontal crashes severe enough to require occupant restraint beyond that provided by the vehicle interior. Additionally, in collisions in which the air bag did not deploy, the crashes were of such low severity that no actuation was expected and none took place.
Technical Paper

Brake System Safety Analysis

1971-02-01
710593
An important new technique in safety engineering for complex systems is the fault tree analysis method. The results of a motor vehicle brake system safety analysis using the fault tree technique are described. The work is directed toward the identification and ranking of brake system failure modes which may be critical as accident causation factors. Safety criticality for each failure mode is defined as the product of probability of occurrence and severity of effect on vehicle control. Failure data for the brake system components are obtained from maintenance and repair records of a large automobile leasing fleet. An effect scale is developed using a method for pooling expert judgements to obtain the relative ranking of various brake faults as to accident causation potential. The fault tree structure is employed to combine probability and effect to obtain the safety criticality value of each fault.
Technical Paper

Subcompact Vehicle Energy-Absorbing Steering Assembly Evaluation

1978-02-01
780899
This paper describes the results of a 2 year study into the field accident performances of two basic designs of energy-absorbing steering assemblies. The two basic designs are the axial-collapse type of steering column used in conjunction with a shear capsule and the self-aligning energy-absorbing steering wheel mounted on a nonstroking column. The study identifies major injury causation factors for these two types of steering assemblies. The analysis was performed on 161 accident cases selected for unrestrained drivers in frontal accidents in two vehicle types.
Technical Paper

NHTSA's Rollover Rulemaking Program - Results of Testing and Analysis

1992-02-01
920581
This paper attempts to define and measure factors related to a vehicle's performance that are influential in the causation of rollover accidents. Data are presented which define the rollover involvement rates for many non-vehicular factors. A brief description of the vehicle metrics and the analysis procedures used in the rollover prevention rulemaking program are included along with a set of conclusions. The program evaluated many vehicle metrics related to vehicle rollover, analyzed accidents from 5 states, and compared the two data bases by testing “cause and effect” hypotheses by performing statistical regressions to determine levels of correlation. Location of the crash, urban vs. rural, was a strong predictor of the crash outcome - that is, rollover or non-rollover. Vehicle class and single vehicle accident rate were also statistically significant, as well as, whether or not the vehicle was equipped with anti-lock brakes. Several other driver demographics were significant.
Technical Paper

Test Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation System (Test PAES): A Data Archiving Tool for Engineers and Scientists

1997-02-24
970453
As Intelligent Transportation Systems (ITS) become more prevalent, the need to archive data from field tests becomes more critical. These data can guide the design of future systems, provide an information conduit among the many developers of ITS, enable comparisons across locations and time, and support development of theoretical models of driver behavior. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is interested in such an archive. While a design for an ITS data archive has not yet been developed, NHTSA has supported the enhancement of the Test Planning, Analysis, and Evaluation System (Test PAES), originally developed by Calspan SRL Corporation for the U. S. Air Force Armstrong Laboratory, for possible use in such an archive. On a single screen, Test PAES enables engineering unit data, audio, and video, as well as a vehicle animation, to be time synchronized, displayed simultaneously, and operated with a single control.
Technical Paper

The New Car Assessment Program - Historical Review and Effect

1994-03-01
941052
This report is a condensed version of the December 1993 New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) report to Congress and provides: an historical review and future goals for NCAP. the results of an 18-month study to assess consumer and media needs in understanding and promoting the use of NCAP data. This included consumer focus groups and media studies. These studies indicated that consumers and the media desire comparative safety information on vehicles, a simplified NCAP format to better understand and utilize the crash test results, and would like to see NCAP expanded to include other crash modes. studies of real-world crashes versus NCAP crash tests. These studies conclude that NCAP test conditions approximate real-world crash conditions covering a major segment of the frontal crash safety problem and that there is a significant correlation between NCAP results and real-world fatality risks for restrained drivers.
Technical Paper

Hardware Evaluation of Heavy Truck Side and Rear Object Detection Systems

1995-02-01
951010
This paper focuses on two types of electronics-based object detection systems for heavy truck applications: those sensing the presence of objects to the rear of the vehicle, and those sensing the presence of objects on the right side of the vehicle. The rearward sensing systems are intended to aid drivers when backing their vehicles, typically at very low “crawl” speeds. Six rear object detection systems that were commercially available at the time that this study was initiated were evaluated. The right side looking systems are intended primarily as supplements to side view mirror systems and as an aid for detecting the presence of adjacent vehicles when making lane changes or merging maneuvers. Four side systems, two commercially available systems and two prototypes, were evaluated.
Technical Paper

A Three-Dimensional Finite Element Analysis of the Human Brain Under Combined Rotational and Translational Accelerations

1994-11-01
942215
Finite element modelling has been used to study the evolution of strain in a model of the human brain under impulsive acceleration loadings. A cumulative damage measure, based on the calculation of the volume fraction of the brain that has experienced a specific level of stretch, is used as a possible predictor for deformation-related brain injury. The measure is based on the maximum principal strain calculated from an objective strain tensor that is obtained by integration of the rate of deformation gradient with appropriate accounting for large rotations. This measure is used here to evaluate the relative effects of rotational and translational accelerations, in both the sagittal and coronal planes, on the development of strain damage in the brain. A new technique for the computational treatment of the brain-dura interface is suggested and used to alleviate the difficulties in the explicit representation of the cerebrospinal fluid layer existing between the two solid materials.
Technical Paper

Human Factors Evaluation of Existing Side Collision Avoidance System Driver Interfaces

1995-11-01
952659
This paper describes the assessment of driver interfaces of a type of electronics-based collision avoidance systems that has been recently developed to assist drivers of vehicles in avoiding certain types of collisions. The electronics-based crash avoidance systems studied were those which detect the presence of objects located on the left and/or right sides of the vehicle, called Side Collision Avoidance Systems, or SCAS. As many SCAS as could be obtained, including several pre-production prototypes, were acquired and tested. The testing focused on measuring sensor performance and assessing the qualities of the driver interfaces. This paper presents only the results of the driver interface assessments. The sensor performance data are presented in the NHTSA report “Development of Performance Specifications for Collision Avoidance Systems for Lane Changing, Merging, and Backing - Task 3 - Test of Existing Hardware Systems” [1].
Technical Paper

Variability of Hybrid III Clearance Dimensions within the FMVSS 208 and NCAP Vehicle Test Fleets and the Effects of Clearance Dimensions on Dummy Impact Responses

1995-11-01
952710
Locations of key body segments of Hybrid III dummies used in FMVSS 208 compliance tests and NCAP tests were measured and subjected to statistical analysis. Mean clearance dimensions and their standard deviations for selected body segments of driver and passenger occupants with respect to selected vehicle surfaces were determined for several classes of vehicles. These occupant locations were then investigated for correlation with impact responses measured in crash tests and by using a three dimensional human-dummy mathematical model in comparable settings. Based on these data, the importance of some of the clearance dimensions between the dummy and the vehicle surfaces was determined. The study also compares observed Hybrid III dummy positions within selected vehicles with real world occupant positions reported in published literature.
Technical Paper

On the Synergism of the Driver Air Bag and the 3-Point Belt in Frontal Collisions

1995-11-01
952700
The number of passenger vehicles with combined 3-point belt/driver air bag restraint systems is steadily increasing. To investigate the effectiveness of this restraint combination, 48 kph frontal collisions were performed with human cadavers. Each cadaver's thorax was instrumented with a 12-accelerometer array and two chest bands. The results show, that by using a combined standard 3-point belt (6% elongation)/driver air bag, the thoracic injury pattern remained located under the shoulder belt. The same observation was found when belts with 16% elongation were used in combination with the driver air bag. Chest contours derived from the chest bands showed high local compression and deformation of the chest along the shoulder belt path, and suggest the mechanism for the thoracic injuries.
Technical Paper

Analysis of Human Driver Behavior in Highway Cut-in Scenarios

2017-03-28
2017-01-1402
The rapid development of driver assistance systems, such as lane-departure warning (LDW) and lane-keeping support (LKS), along with widely publicized reports of automated vehicle testing, have created the expectation for an increasing amount of vehicle automation in the near future. As these systems are being phased in, the coexistence of automated vehicles and human-driven vehicles on roadways will be inevitable and necessary. In order to develop automated vehicles that integrate well with those that are operated in traditional ways, an appropriate understanding of human driver behavior in normal traffic situations would be beneficial. Unlike many research studies that have focused on collision-avoidance maneuvering, this paper analyzes the behavior of human drivers in response to cut-in vehicles moving at similar speeds. Both automated and human-driven vehicles are likely to encounter this scenario in daily highway driving.
Journal Article

Preliminary Evaluation Methodology in Front-Front Vehicle Compatibility

2008-04-14
2008-01-0814
The injury outcome of a front-front two-vehicle crash will be a function of crash-specific, vehicle-specific, and occupant-specific parameters. This paper focuses on a preliminary methodology that was used to evaluate the potential for benefits in making vehicle-specific changes to improve the compatibility of light vehicles across the fleet. In particular, the effect on injury rates of matching vehicle frontal stiffness was estimated. The front-front crash data for belted drivers in the lighter vehicles in the crash from ten years of NASS-CDS data were examined. The frontal stiffness of each vehicle was calculated using data taken during full frontal rigid barrier tests for the U.S. New Car Assessment Program (NCAP), and only crashes coded in the CDS as “no override” were considered.
Technical Paper

Simulator Study of Heavy Truck Air Disc Brake Effectiveness During Emergency Braking

2008-04-14
2008-01-1498
In crashes between heavy trucks and light vehicles, most of the fatalities are the occupants of the light vehicle. A reduction in heavy truck stopping distance should lead to a reduction in the number of crashes, the severity of crashes, and consequently the numbers of fatalities and injuries. This study made use of the National Advanced Driving Simulator (NADS). NADS is a full immersion driving simulator used to study driver behavior as well as driver-vehicle reactions and responses. The vehicle dynamics model of the existing heavy truck on NADS had been modified with the creation of two additional brake models. The first was a modified S-cam (larger drums and shoes) and the second was an air-actuated disc brake system. A sample of 108 CDL-licensed drivers was split evenly among the simulations using each of the three braking systems. The drivers were presented with four different emergency stopping situations.
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