Light truck vehicles (LTVs), sport utility vehicles (SUVs), and vans collectively make up a growing segment of the total automotive fleet sales, particularly in the United States. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has identified this trend and has increased the extent of its research in vehicle-tovehicle compatibility. Additionally, vehicle compatibility concerns have also been emphasized by International Harmonization Research Activity (IHRA). Accordingly, with intention to further enhance road safety, research in the area of crash compatibility between cars and LTVs in different crash configurations is of significant importance.
This paper describes a part of ongoing research at Ford Motor Company to further investigate the effect of compatibility in SUV/LTV-to-Car crashes. Test results of SUV/LTV-to-Car crashes involving various frontal impact configurations were analyzed in order to develop test procedures and requirements to help assess vehicle compatibility. Specifically, three SUV-to-Car frontal impact configurations were assessed in the present study: full overlap collinear impact, 50% offset collinear impact, and 30-degree oblique impact. In each of the tests, both the target and bullet vehicles contained a Hybrid III 50th percentile instrumented test dummy (HIII50) for the driver and a Hybrid III 5th percentile instrumented test dummy (HIII05) for the passenger. Analysis of the tests yielded the following results: (1) Structural and occupant responses were used to help quantify the effect of mass, stiffness, and geometry, (2) A robust and repeatable vehicle-to-vehicle test procedure was proposed, and (3) Preliminary results indicated that geometric incompatibility was the dominating factor in the studied vehicle design characteristics.