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Technical Paper

The Effect of Airbag Suppression Systems on Durability and Safety-Related Testing Procedures

Over the last several years, designers have been working toward developing airbag suppression systems in order to satisfy the new Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 - Occupant Crash Protection requirements currently being phased-in [1, 2]. By September 1, 2005, all vehicles are required to be in compliance with the new requirements. The new rule requires that vehicles must have an airbag suppression system that turns the airbag off in cases where a child or child seat is detected in the front passenger occupant position. Typically incorporated in the seating structure or cushion area, these suppression systems are activated each time the seat is occupied. More so than any other component, this feature makes safety, durability, and reliability testing of these systems critical to their functionality. This paper will discuss how airbag suppression systems have affected the standard testing procedures of vehicle components including seats and airbags.
Technical Paper

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 – Occupant Crash Protection: Right Front Passenger Test Methodologies

Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 208 - Occupant Crash Protection establishes performance requirements to determine whether passenger vehicles, light multipurpose vehicles, and trucks meet conditions and injury criteria specified by the standard. On May 12, 2004, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) amended the standard to set the path for future air bag development [1, 2]. The amendment concerned the development of airbag systems that would be designed to minimize the risk of air bag induced injuries in comparison to current technologies. These new rules forward the framework for engineering of these systems without strictly regulating their design. This paper will discuss the test methodologies used from the initial design phase to the final validation phase of a vehicle. Strategies for advanced air bag system types, suppression and low risk occupant mixes, and the use of human subjects will be discussed.
Technical Paper

FMVSS 201U Testing - Vehicle Targeting Using both Manual and Computer-Aided Methods

In April 1997, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) issued a final rule amending Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 201U. This rule specifies improved upper interior head impact protection requirements for all vehicles with a GVWR of 10,000 lbs or less (and buses under 8,500 lbs). The purpose of this new safety standard is to afford occupants within a vehicle additional protection to reduce the likelihood of severe head injury regardless of the type of vehicle collision. As with past standards, the NHTSA provided a test procedure to be used for compliance testing. This procedure includes information regarding set-up, targeting, testing, and data analysis. The targeting procedure, which locates all applicable target points on the upper interior trim of a vehicle, was written without being vehicle-specific. This test procedure is one of the most complex and time-consuming testing protocols developed in recent years.
Technical Paper

Development of a Test Procedure for FMVSS 223 - Rear Impact Guards

This paper presents the resultf a project concerning the development of a test procedure for evaluating rear impact guards installed on trailers. The procedure was based on requirements established in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 223, Rear Impact Guards. Rear impact guards are required on trailers to prevent passenger vehicles from driving underneath the rear of a trailer, commonly referred to as underride. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) estimates that 11,551 rear-end crashes with trucks, trailers, and semi-trailers occur annually. These crashes result in approximately 423 passenger vehicle occupant fatalities and 5030 nonfatal injuries. The nonfatal injuries include lacerations to the head and neck area, severe brain trauma, and internal hemorrhaging. The objective of the test procedure was to present uniform formats for testing and data recording, and provide suggestions for the use of specific equipment.
Technical Paper

Airbag Sensor System Evaluation Methods

This paper presents testing methodologies used for the evaluation of airbag sensor systems. The methods are geared towards the analysis of airbag deployment/non-deployment situations through the use of harsh and abusive tests that include both driving and stationary impact conditions. Readers of the paper will gain a broad understanding of the testing options that are available to develop suitable airbag sensor systems and deployment algorithms. The methodologies presented in this paper address only the issue of preventing deployment in certain environments. The vehicle conditions are critical when developing the threshold of the deployment algorithm. The Rough Road and Abuse tests are an important part of developing this algorithm. With airbag deployment threshold levels being such an important issue in the safety field, the test methods used to simulate real world conditions become an integral aspect to overall airbag development.
Technical Paper

Advancements in Testing Methodologies in Response to the FMVSS 201U Requirements for Curtain-Type Side Airbags

Vehicle manufacturers are developing dynamically deploying upper interior head protection systems to provide added occupant protection in lateral crashes. These devices are used to protect the head and neck areas and to prevent ejection from the vehicle. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has established requirements in Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standard (FMVSS) 201 [1] for these systems. This paper will discuss testing methodologies in the areas of component testing of curtain-type side airbag systems and full scale side impact testing of a vehicle into a rigid pole. These testing methodologies have been created as a direct result of the development phase of several airbag systems. Prior to pole impact testing, tests have been developed which evaluate these types of systems for characteristics such as inflation time, fill capacity, and how long the system stays inflated during side impact and rollover simulations.