ABSTRACT This paper describes a part of ongoing progress and research conducted by the Front-to-Front Compatibility Technical Working Group (TWG) to enhance vehicle compatibility in vehicle-to-vehicle frontal crashes. As a short-term goal, the TWG developed and implemented Phase I performance criteria, based on static measurements of the Primary Energy Absorbing Structure (PEAS) height, to improve geometrical compatibility. This will enhance structural interaction, through better matching of frontal component geometries, between cars and light trucks, in frontal crashes. Options include better matching of bumper heights, longitudinal frame rail heights, and more evenly distributing impact forces across the fronts of vehicles. All participating manufacturers’ new light trucks up to 10,000 pounds Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR), with limited exceptions, must meet Phase I requirements by September 1, 2009.
The focus of Phase II research for the TWG is the investigation and evaluation of Front-end performance. This will include research to investigate test procedures and performance metrics to assess potential dynamic front-end geometric, stiffness, and any other relevant performance characteristics that would enhance partner protection without any significant degradation in self-protection.
Test and simulation results obtained from frontal impacts with various Load Cell Walls (LCW) and from vehicle-to-vehicle impacts in various frontal impact configurations to support phase II research were analyzed and presented to help assess and improve vehicle compatibility. Average Height of Force (AHOF) obtained from frontal impact with LCW was investigated as a compatibility metric. Initial finding was the AHOF alone is insufficient metric and did not correlate with Aggressivity Metric (AM) defined by NHTSA. Alternative metrics and test procedures are under investigation by the TWG. Phase III research will focus on front stiffness matching between cars and trucks and also on passenger car compartment strength and integrity. The investigation will lead to the development of a test to determine appropriate front-end stiffness characteristics and criteria that would strike an appropriate balance between small vehicle passenger compartment strength and large vehicle energy absorption characteristics.