Test and assessment procedures for passive pedestrian protection of passenger cars are in place for many years within world-wide regulations as well as consumer test programmes. Nevertheless, recent accident investigations show a stagnation of pedestrian fatality numbers on European roads alongside increasing injury severities for older road users. The EU-funded SENIORS (Safety ENhancing Innovations for Older Road userS) project developed and evaluated a thorax injury prediction tool (TIPT) for later incorporation within test and assessment procedures.
Accident data indicates an increasing portion of AIS2 and AIS3+ thoracic injuries of older pedestrians and cyclists which are currently not assessed in any test procedure for vulnerable road users. Therefore, SENIORS focused on the development of a test tool predicting the risk of rib fractures of vulnerable road users (VRU). While injury risk functions were reanalyzed, human body model (HBM) simulations against categorized generic vehicle frontends served as input for the definition of test setups and corresponding impact parameters. TIPT component tests against a generic frontend and an actual vehicle were used for the evaluation of the technical feasibility.
The TIPT component tests shows the general feasibility of a test procedure for the assessment of thoracic injuries, with good repeatability and reproducibility of kinematics and results. Impact parameters such as the inclination angles of the thorax, angles of the velocity vector and impact speeds well replicate the parameters gained from the HBM simulations. The proposed markup and assessment scheme offers the possibility of a homogeneous evaluation of the protection potential of vehicle frontends while maintaining justifiable testing efforts. During evaluation testing, the proposed requirements were entirely met.
The developed prototype of TIPT and launching system offer impact angles and speeds as suggested by HBM simulations. However, since thorax impacts during pedestrian accidents do not occur perpendicularly to the vehicle surface in most cases, the TIPT built-in linear potentiometers do not acquire the true resultant intrusions on the ribcage and thus, TIPT rib deflections do not reflect the actual human injury risk. However; for the impact forward to the bonnet leading edge, the TIPT seems applicable without further modifications.
The test and assessment procedures using the TIPT offer for the first time the possibility of replicating the kinematics of a pedestrian thorax with a component test. The developed assessment scheme gives a first indication on how the risk for thoracic injuries could be implemented within the Euro NCAP Box 3 assessment. Future development of the TIPT may focus on implementing a rib cage that can deflect in all axes in a humanlike way.