Car-Car Crash Compatibility: Development of Crash Test Procedures in the VC-COMPAT Project
Journal article, 2007
The project “Improvement of Vehicle Crash Compatibility through the development of Crash Test Procedures” (VC-Compat) is a research activity sponsored under the European Commission 5th Framework Programme. It consists of two parallel research activities, one focusing on car-to-car compatibility and the other on car-to-truck compatibility. The main objective of the car-to-car research is the development of crash test procedures to assess frontal impact crash compatibility. The car-to-truck objective is to develop test methods to assess energy absorbing frontal underrun protection for trucks. This paper reports on the car-to-car compatibility work completed in the first 36 months of a 45 month project.
The car-to-car work program is comprised of four main activities, a structural survey, cost benefit analyses, crash testing, and supporting modelling work. A survey of European passenger vehicles has been conducted to construct a database of common crashworthiness structures and general car structures. A review of the detailed accident databases and national data in Germany and UK has been used to estimate the benefit expected from improved vehicle compatibility. Crash testing (car-to-car and car-to-barrier) has been used to identify desirable characteristics for vehicle crash compatibility as well as help determine assessment protocols to evaluate (quantify) compatible crash performance. A set of complementary modelling activities has been implemented to review crash test and fleet performance of vehicles to investigate the crash test procedures and their influence on road safety. All these activities have focussed on the development of a suite of test procedures that are capable of assessing a car’s structural interaction potential, namely the Full Width Deformable Barrier (FWDB) and Progressive Deformable Barrier (PDB) tests. These tests have different approaches; the FWDB assessment is based on Load Cell Wall force measurements whereas the PDB assessment is based on deformation measurements.
This work supports the activities of the European Enhanced Vehicle safety Committee (EEVC) frontal impact and compatibility working group (WG15), which has the task to propose draft test procedures to assess a vehicle’s crash compatibility in 2007. These draft procedures will include recommended assessment criteria and associated performance limits.