Occupant protection technology is focusing on automated driving

November 12, 2018 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
In automated cars, passengers occupy very different positions than in today's vehicles. This requires the development of new approaches to passive occupant protection. As part of the "OSCCAR - Future Occupant Safety for Crashes in Cars" research project, the Institute for Motor Vehicles (ika) at RWTH Aachen University (Germany) is developing new technologies to protect passengers in the event of a crash.

In the future, automated vehicles will be able to perform the driving task temporarily or even completely, thus enabling the occupants to devote more time to other activities. This leads to an increasing demand for alternative interior concepts and new, more comfortable seating positions for work, communication or relaxation (e.g. with the back to the driving direction or leaning back), which poses new challenges for the protection of occupants in a crash.

Based on the analysis of future accident scenarios, OSCCAR will develop and demonstrate new, advanced occupant protection principles to address these challenges. The introduction of automated vehicles will lead to changes in the relevant crash scenarios (mixed traffic, new accident types, complex pre-crash kinematics of automated active protection systems, etc.). At the same time, the project should also take demographic changes into account, as the researchers assume that older people will also participate in traffic with automatic vehicles. In addition, the particular properties of the genders in accidents will also be taken into account.

All these factors result in increasing complexity. This requires greater use of virtual methods for the development and evaluation of future occupant protection systems. OSCCAR will therefore provide a specific framework of improved, omnidirectional, biofidel and robust Human Body Models (HBMs), taking into account gender and demographic factors as well as improved imaging of internal organs and soft tissues. In addition, OSCCAR will develop an integrated evaluation method for complex test scenarios of the entire pre- and in-crash phase.

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