A virtual test system representing the distribution of pedestrian impact configurations for future vehicle front-end optimization
Journal article, 2016
Objectives: The purpose of this study is to define a computationally efficient virtual test system (VTS) to assess the aggressivity of vehicle front-end designs to pedestrians considering the distribution of pedestrian impact configurations for future vehicle front-end optimization. The VTS should represent real-world impact configurations in terms of the distribution of vehicle impact speeds, pedestrian walking speeds, pedestrian gait, and pedestrian height. The distribution of injuries as a function of body region, vehicle impact speed, and pedestrian size produced using this VTS should match the distribution of injuries observed in the accident data. The VTS should have the predictive ability to distinguish the aggressivity of different vehicle front-end designs to pedestrians.Methods: The proposed VTS includes 2 parts: a simulation test sample (STS) and an injury weighting system (IWS). The STS was defined based on MADYMO multibody vehicle to pedestrian impact simulations accounting for the range of vehicle impact speeds, pedestrian heights, pedestrian gait, and walking speed to represent real world impact configurations using the Pedestrian Crash Data Study (PCDS) and anthropometric data. In total 1,300 impact configurations were accounted for in the STS. Three vehicle shapes were then tested using the STS. The IWS was developed to weight the predicted injuries in the STS using the estimated proportion of each impact configuration in the PCDS accident data. A weighted injury number (WIN) was defined as the resulting output of the VTS. The WIN is the weighted number of average Abbreviated Injury Scale (AIS) 2+ injuries recorded per impact simulation in the STS. Then the predictive capability of the VTS was evaluated by comparing the distributions of AIS 2+ injuries to different pedestrian body regions and heights, as well as vehicle types and impact speeds, with that from the PCDS database. Further, a parametric analysis was performed with the VTS to assess the sensitivity of the injury predictions to changes in vehicle shape (type) and stiffness to establish the potential for using the VTS for future vehicle front-end optimization.Results: An STS of 1,300 multibody simulations and an IWS based on the distribution of impact speed, pedestrian height, gait stance, and walking speed is broadly capable of predicting the distribution of pedestrian injuries observed in the PCDS database when the same vehicle type distribution as the accident data is employed. The sensitivity study shows significant variations in the WIN when either vehicle type or stiffness is altered.Conclusions: Injury predictions derived from the VTS give a good representation of the distribution of injuries observed in the PCDS and distinguishing ability on the aggressivity of vehicle front-end designs to pedestrians. The VTS can be considered as an effective approach for assessing pedestrian safety performance of vehicle front-end designs at the generalized level. However, the absolute injury number is substantially underpredicted by the VTS, and this needs further development.
vehicle front design