Modeling of an Advanced Steering Wheel and Column Assembly for Frontal and Side Impact Simulations
This paper presents the final phase of a study to develop the modeling methodology for an advanced steering assembly with a safety-enhanced steering wheel and an adaptive energy absorbing steering column. For passenger cars built before the 1960s, the steering column was designed to control vehicle direction with a simple rigid rod. In severe frontal crashes, this type of design would often be displaced rearward toward the driver due to front-end crush of the vehicle. Consequently, collapsible, detachable, and other energy absorbing steering columns emerged to address this type of kinematics. These safety-enhanced steering columns allow frontal impact energy to be absorbed by collapsing or breaking the steering columns, thus reducing the potential for rearward column movement in severe crashes. Recently, more advanced steering column designs have been developed that can adapt to different crash conditions including crash severity, occupant mass/size, seat position, and seatbelt usage.