Present head restraint systems quite often restrict rearward visibility, and when not properly adjusted, their effectiveness suffers. The deployable head restraint can overcome both these problems and in addition provide head restraint performance better than fixed systems. This paper describes a project to study the feasibility of deployable head restraints.
Starting with two-dimensional computer simulations of front seat occupant kinematics in rear-end collisions, initial performance criteria for deployment times, and restraint configurations were determined for various impact velocities. Based on these criteria, two types of deployable systems were designed and constructed, one an inflatable system and the other a rigid sliding system. These prototype systems then underwent a test and development program using anthropomorphic dummies and an impact sled. The test program evaluated the effectiveness of the head restraint systems under high- and low-speed crash simulations. In addition, tests were performed to study the effect of restraint deployment on the malpositioned occupant. The results of the test program are discussed and comparisons are made between the two prototype systems and existing head restraint designs.