This paper provides an update of Ford's research activity in vehicle compatibility. Vehicle manufacturers extrapolate compatibility performance in real-world accidents using data from controlled crash test environments. Several test procedures and various compatibility measures which use data obtained from rigid or deformable barrier tests to quantify expected compatibility with smaller vehicles have been previously proposed. The purpose of this research is to examine potential compatibility measures obtained from vehicle-to-barrier impact as well as to evaluate the effectiveness of the "BlockerBeam®" in vehicle-to-vehicle impact. The BlockerBeam® is one method of designing a Secondary Energy Absorbing Structure (SEAS). The BlockerBeam® is attached to the front end of the rail/frame of an SUV or full size pick-up below the bumper. It can enhance structural interaction and reduce override during frontal impact with a passenger car.
The current research presents data analyses obtained from vehicle-to-barrier and vehicle-tovehicle crash tests to develop assessment methodologies intended to evaluate vehicle compatibility. Full size heavy-duty pick-ups with and without a BlockerBeam® were instrumented and tested in 57 km/h frontal impacts against a full width deformable barrier. The barrier consisted of 128 high resolution, 125 mm by 125 mm load cells arranged in a 16 row by 8 column array. Identical full size pickups with and without a BlockerBeam® were also tested in vehicle-to-vehicle full frontal impact. In these tests, the impact speed of the bullet vehicle (full size heavy-duty pick-up) was set to a value intended to induce a 56 kph velocity change in the stationary target vehicle (small size 4-door sedan). The bullet and target vehicles were equipped with instrumented 50th% dummies in the mid-position for the drivers and 5th% dummies in the full forward position for the passengers.
Test data collected from load cells in the barrier tests was reviewed and analyzed to evaluate potential compatibility measures for use in assessing vehicleto- vehicle crashes. Correlation between barrier test results and vehicle-to-vehicle test results for assessment of compatibility measures and test procedures is discussed.