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Technical Paper

Vehicle Crash Research and Manufacturing Experience

The search for improvements in occupant protection under vehicle impact is hampered by a real lack of reliable biomechanical data. To help fill this void, General Motors has initiated joint research with independent researchers such as the School of Medicine, U. C. L. A. – in this case to study localized head and facial trauma — and has developed such unique laboratory tools as “Tramasaf,” a human-simulating headform, and “MetNet,” a pressure-sensitive metal foam. Research applied directly to product design also has culminated in developments such as the Side-Guard Beam for side impact protection.
Technical Paper

The Oxidative Stability of GM's DEXRON®-VI Global Factory Fill ATF

A detailed description of the oxidative stability of GM's DEXRON®-VI Factory Fill Automatic Transmission Fluid (ATF) is provided, which can be integrated into a working algorithm to estimate the end of useful oxidative life of the fluid. As described previously, an algorithm to determine the end of useful life of an automatic transmission fluid exists and is composed of two simultaneous counters, one monitoring bulk oxidation and the other monitoring friction degradation [1]. When either the bulk oxidation model or the friction model reach the specified limit, a signal can be triggered to alert the driver that an ATF change is required. The data presented in this report can be used to develop the bulk oxidation model. The bulk oxidation model is built from a large series of bench oxidation tests. These data can also be used independent of a vehicle to show the relative oxidation resistance of this fluid, at various temperatures, compared to other common lubricants.
Technical Paper

The General Motors Driving Simulator

A driving simulator development project at the Systems Engineering and Technical Process Center (SE/TP) is exploring the role of driving simulation in the vehicle design process. The simulator provides two vehicle mockup testing arenas that support a wide field of view, computer-generated image of the road scene which dynamically responds to driver commands as a function of programmable vehicle model parameters. Two unique aspects of the simulator are the fast 65 ms response time and low incidence rate of simulator induced syndrome (about 5%). Preliminary model validation results and data comparing driver performance in a vehicle vs. the simulator indicate accurate handling response dynamics within the on-center handling region (<0.3g lateral acceleration). Applications have included supporting the development of new steering system concepts, as well as evaluating the usability of vehicle controls and displays.
Technical Paper

The Effect of Limiting Shoulder Belt Load with Air Bag Restraint

The dilemma of using a shoulder belt force limiter with a 3-point belt system is selecting a limit load that will balance the reduced risk of significant thoracic injury due to the shoulder belt loading of the chest against the increased risk of significant head injury due to the greater upper torso motion allowed by the shoulder belt load limiter. However, with the use of air bags, this dilemma is more manageable since it only occurs for non-deploy accidents where the risk of significant head injury is low even for the unbelted occupant. A study was done using a validated occupant dynamics model of the Hybrid III dummy to investigate the effects that a prescribed set of shoulder belt force limits had on head and thoracic responses for 48 and 56 km/h barrier simulations with driver air bag deployment and for threshold crash severity simulations with no air bag deployment.
Technical Paper

Simulation of the Hybrid III Dummy Response to Impact by Nonlinear Finite Element Analysis

The Hybrid III dummy is an anthropomorphic (humanlike) test device, generally used in crashworthiness testing to assess the extent of occupant protection provided by the vehicle structure and its restraint systems in the event of vehicle crash. Lumped-parameter analytical models are commonly used to simulate the dummy response. These models, by virtue of their limited number of degrees of freedom, can neither represent accurate three-dimensional dummy geometry nor detailed structural deformations. In an effort to improve the state-of-the-art in analytical dummy simulations, a set of finite element models of the Hybrid III dummy segments - head, neck, thorax, spine, pelvis, knee, upper extremities and lower extremities - were developed. The component models replicated the hardware geometry as closely as possible. Appropriate elastic material models were selected for the dummy “skeleton”, with the exterior “soft tissues” represented by viscoelastic materials.
Technical Paper

Significance of Intersection Crashes for Older Drivers

As the driving population ages, there is a need to understand the accident patterns of older drivers. Previous research has shown that side impact collisions, usually at an intersection, are a serious problem for the older driver in terms of injury outcome. This study compares the frequency of side impact, intersection collisions of different driver age groups using state and national police-reported accident data as well as an in-depth analysis of cases from a fatal accident study. All data reveal that the frequency of intersection crashes increases with driver age. The state and national data show that older drivers have an increase frequency of intersection crashes involving vehicles crossing paths prior to the collision compared to their involvement in all crash types. When taking into account traffic control devices at an intersection, older drivers have the greatest involvement of multiple vehicle crashes at a signed intersection.
Technical Paper

Safety Belt Buckle Environment in Vehicle Planar Crash Tests

A study was conducted by General Motors at its crash test facility located at the Milford Proving Ground. The intent of this study was to expand upon the currently available research regarding the safety belt buckle environment during full scale planar crash tests. Buckle accelerations and webbing tensions were measured and recorded to characterize, in part, buckle responses in a crash environment. Previous studies have focused primarily on the component level testing of safety belt buckles. The crash tests included a variety of vehicles, impact types, seating positions, Anthropomorphic Test Devices (ATDs), impact speeds, and impact angles. Also included were various safety belt restraint systems and pretensioner designs. This study reports on data recorded from 100 full scale crash tests with 180 instrumented end release safety belt buckles. Acceleration measurements were obtained with tri-axial accelerometers mounted onto the buckles.
Technical Paper

SIR Sensor Closure Time Prediction for Frontal Impact Using Full Vehicle Finite Element Analysis

This paper describes an analytical method to predict the sensor closure time for an airbag (Supplemental Inflatable Restraint - SIR) system in frontal impacts. The analytical tools used are the explicit finite element code, an in-house sensor closure time prediction program, and a full vehicle finite element model. Nodal point information obtained from the full vehicle finite element simulation is used to predict the sensor closure time of the airbag system. This analytical method can provide the important crash signature information for a SIR system development of a new vehicle program. In this paper, 0-degree frontal impacts at four different impact speeds with two different bumper energy absorption systems are studied using the non-linear finite element computer program DYNA3D. It is concluded that this analytical method is very useful to predict the SIR sensor closure time.
Technical Paper

Rollover Sensor Signature Test Development

Although rollover crashes represent a small fraction (approximately 3%) of all motor vehicle crashes, they account for roughly one quarter of crash fatalities to occupants of cars, light trucks, and vans (NHTSA Traffic Safety Facts, 2004). Therefore, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified rollover injuries as one of its safety priorities. Motor vehicle manufacturers are developing technologies to reduce the risk of injury associated with rollover collisions. This paper describes the development by General Motors Corporation (GM) of a suite of laboratory tests that can be used to develop sensors that can deploy occupant protection devices like roof rail side air bags and pretensioners in a rollover as well as a discussion of the challenges of conducting this suite of tests.
Technical Paper

Responses of Animals Exposed to Deployment of Various Passenger Inflatable Restraint System Concepts for a Variety of Collision Severities and Animal Positions

This paper summarizes the results of tests conducted with anesthetized animals that were exposed to a wide range of passenger inflatable restraint cushion forces for a variety of impact sled - simulated accident conditions. The test configurations and inflatable restraint system concepts were selected to produce a broad spectrum of injury types and severities to the major organs of the head, neck and torso of the animals. These data were needed to interpret the significance of the responses of an instrumented child dummy that was being used to evaluate child injury potential of the passenger inflatable restraint system being developed by General Motors Corporation. Injuries ranging from no injury to fatal were observed for the head, neck and abdomen regions. Thoracic injuries ranged from no injury to critical, survival uncertain.
Technical Paper

Racing Car Restraint System Frontal Crash Performance Testing

This paper presents the results of a series of over 30 impact sled simulations of racing car frontal crashes conducted as part of the GM Motorsports Safety Technology Research Program. A Hyge™ impact sled fitted with a simulated racing car seat and restraint system was used to simulate realistic crash loading with a mid-size male Hybrid III dummy. The results of tests, in the form of measured loads, displacements, and accelerations, are presented and comparisons made with respect to the levels of these parameters seen in typical passenger car crash testing and to current injury threshold values.
Technical Paper

Part Two - Dummies - Description and Basis of a Three-Year-Old Child Dummy Or Evaluating Passenger Inflatable Restraint Concepts

A primary concern in the development of a passenger inflatable restraint system is the possibility that a child could be in the path of the deploying cushion either due to initial position at the time of an accident or due to precrash braking accompanying an accident. Previous studies by General Motors and Volvo have indicated that serious injuries to children are possible if the cushion/child interaction forces are not controlled by system design. This paper describes an instrumented child dummy which was developed to provide measurements of the various cushion/child interaction forces. An analysis is given describing the types of injuries which could be associated with the various types of interaction forces. These results were used to develop appropriate dummy instrumentation for indicating the severity of the cushion/child interaction. A description of the modifications made to an existing three-year-old child dummy are described.
Technical Paper

Occupant Energy Management Technique for Restraint System Analysis and Design -Theory and Validation

In this paper, the concept of ridedown analysis is extended to provide the total occupant energy and ridedown energy as functions of time. The difference between the total occupant energy and the energy absorbed by the front structure represents the energy which is dissipated by deforming the components of the restraint system. This analysis allows an improved understanding of the restraint system as a whole, and how its components interact with each other and with the front structure of the car to dissipate the occupant's energy throughout the crash event.
Technical Paper

Interpretations of the Impact Responses of a 3-Year-Old Child Dummy Relative to Child Injury Potential

An analysis is presented that was used to interpret the significance of response measurements made with a specially instrumented, 3-year-old child dummy that was used to evaluate child injury potential of the second-generation, passenger inflatable restraint system that was being developed by General Motors Corporation. Anesthetized animals and a specially instrumented child dummy, both 3-year-old child surrogates, were exposed to similar inflating-cushion, simulated collision environments. The exposure environments were chosen to produce a wide spectrum of animal injury types and severities, and a corresponding broad range of child dummy responses. For a given exposure environment, the animal injury severity ratings for the head, neck, thorax and abdomen are paired with dummy response values corresponding to these body regions.
Technical Paper

Fatal Crashes of Female Drivers Wearing Safety Belts

Fatal crash circumstances for 48 belted female drivers were studied in-depth and compared to those of 83 belted male drivers in a similar population of vehicles. Women had a higher incidence of crashes on slippery roads, during lane changes and passing maneuvers than men who had a higher rate of aggressive driving and speed related crashes (χ2 = 10.47, p < 0.001). Driver-side damage was significantly more frequent in female than male crashes (χ2 = 5.74, p < 0.025) and women had a higher fraction of side impacts (45.9% v 31.4%) and crashes during daylight (87.0% v 72.3%, χ2 = 3.65, p < 0.05) than men. Women also had a higher fraction of potentially avoidable crashes than men (57.5% v 39.0%) and a lower involvement related to aggressive driving (10.6% v 25.6%). These differences were statistically significant (χ2 = 5.41, p < 0.025).
Technical Paper

Experimental Analysis of Aspirating Airbag Units

Aspirating airbag modules are unique from other designs in that the gas entering the airbag is a mixture of inflator-delivered gas and ambient-temperature air entrained from the atmosphere surrounding the module. Today's sophisticated computer simulations of an airbag deployment typically require as input the mass-flow rate, chemical composition and thermal history of the gas exiting the canister and entering the airbag. While the mass-flow rate and temperature of the inflator-delivered gas can be obtained from a standard tank test, information on air entrainment into an aspirated canister is limited. The purpose of this study is to provide quantitative information about the aspirated mass-flow rate during airbag deployment. Pressure and velocity measurements are combined with high-speed photography in order to gain further insight into the relationship between the canister pressure, the rate of cabin-air entrainment and the airbag deployment.
Technical Paper

Evaluation of the Hybrid III Dummy Interactions with Air Bag in Frontal Crash by Finite Element Simulation

A deformable finite element dummy model was used to simulate air bag interaction with in-position passenger side occupants in frontal vehicle crash. This dummy model closely simulates the Hybrid III hardware with respect to geometry, mass, and material properties. Test data was used to evaluate the validity of the model. The calculated femur loads, chest acceleration and head acceleration were in good agreement with the test data. A semi-rigid dummy model (with rigid chest) was derived from the deformable dummy to improve turnaround time. Simulation results using the semi-rigid dummy model were also in reasonable agreement with the test data. For comparison purpose, simulations were also performed using PAMCVS, a hybrid code which couples the finite element code PAMCRASH with the rigid body occupant code. The deformable dummy model predicted better chest acceleration than the other two models.
Technical Paper

Describing the Truck Driver Stomach and Shin-Knee Accommodation Tools

Truck driver shin-knee and stomach postion tools have been developed to describe where certain percentages of truck drivers position there knees and stomachs in various workspace arrangements. Separate equations describe the accommodation level for driver populations with male to female ratios of 50/50, 75/25, and a range from 90/10 to 95/5. These equations can be used as a design tool to locate the curves in vehicle space to describe the region behind which the given populations shin-knees, and stomachs would be located. Equations and curves are provided for both the left leg, which operates the clutch, and the right leg, which operates the accelerator.
Technical Paper

Describing the Truck Driver Eye and Head Accommodation Tools

Truck driver eye and head position tools have been developed to describe where certain percentages of truck drivers position there eyes and heads in various workspace arrangements. Separate equations describe the accommodation level for driver populations with male to female ratios of 50/50, 75/25, and a range from 90/10 to 95/5. These equations can be used as a design tool to locate the curves in vehicle space to describe the region behind which the given populations eyes and heads would be located. Equations and curves are provided for both the drivers eye and head in the side view. It has become increasingly apparent that there is a need for improved methods of accommodating truck drivers in heavy truck cab design. Currently, practices used in the automobile industry for passenger car design are utilized for the design of heavy trucks. These practices.
Technical Paper

Daytime Running Lights (Drls)-A North American Success Story

Many traffic collisions are the result of the driver's failure to notice the other vehicle. It is often cited in police reports that the driver "looked but did not see.'' The purpose of Daytime Running Lights (DRLs) is to increase the visual contrast of DRL-equipped vehicles. Visual contrast, which is the difference in brightness between two areas, is an important characteristic enabling a driver to detect objects. This paper begins with a brief regulatory history of DRLs in the U.S. and how General Motors Corporation (GM) introduced DRL-equipped vehicles. It also describes a DRL effectiveness study conducted by Exponent Failure Analysis Associates of San Francisco for General Motors Corporation. The study compared the collision rates of specific General Motors Corporation, Saab, Volvo and Volkswagen vehicles before and immediately after the introduction of DRLs. Since DRLs are not visible from behind a vehicle, rear-end collisions were not included in the study.