Automotive safety has made a definite shift towards the continually increasing use of active safety systems in standard and highly automated vehicles (HAV) with a crucial need for the development of tools to supplement the assessment of such systems. Finite Element Human Body Models (FE HBMs) emerge as an innovative pre-requisite for this process in a virtual toolchain. Traditional passive HBMs were developed for in-crash simulations and are not suitable for straightforward use in the pre-crash phase because of inappropriate soft tissues response in low gravity
scenarios and the absence of active muscle elements with a proper controller. The current contribution covers some transformation issues from passive to active behavior for HBM and focuses on the development of a physiologically motivated controller for the whole HBM utilizing standard LS-DYNA keywords. The controller operates with the contraction dynamics of *MAT_MUSCLE material (also referenced as *MAT_156) through Hatze’s activation dynamics and is capable of resembling a valid occupant response during maneuvers.
The proposed neural control model is a form of intermittent control and based on the assumption that the central nervous system governs the controlled motion through shifting between particular states of the musculoskeletal system – so-called “equilibrium points”, where equilibrium of all acting external and internal forces is presumed for a resulting desired position. A hybrid formulation of the controller allows for taking closed-loop muscle stimulation (target muscle lengths “λ”) as well as open-loop stimulation (“α”) into account.
Previous to the whole body application, the equilibrium point hybrid controller (EPHC) approach was validated separately for some parts of the body only. Posture control capability was investigated by tracking motion speed, maximum muscles activation level and the effect of co-contraction. Subsequently, the full HBM simulations were carried out for lane change and 1g braking scenarios retrieved from the experimental database of the Occupant Model for Integrated Safety Project (OM4IS). A modified Total HUman Model for Safety (THUMS) model was correlated to a matched size volunteer with the comparison of head and torso excursions to appropriate experimental corridors.
Each single body region model was validated with in vivo kinematics and dynamics enabling an integration of the single body parts into the entire HBM. Measured maximal deviations for the whole HBM reside within the experimental corridors and correlate well with the volunteer.
The proposed approach permits modeling of active and reactive human responses with the help of an existing passive FE HBM after adequate adaptation of the model, muscle elements insertion and controller parameters tuning. Such model paves the way for the evaluation of new HAV interior concepts and the development of advanced vehicle safety systems.