MGA has been assisting automotive safety engineers and manufacturers for decades in their quest to create safer vehicles. Automobiles are complex combinations of many unique systems. In order to reduce costs and streamline the design process, modern manufacturers develop Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) simulations. While these simulations assist in predicting the effects of design changes on the overall safety performance of a vehicle, physical testing remains the most robust method of product evaluation. MGA offers Occupant Seating Studies to our customers in an effort to harmonize physical testing and computer simulation testing.
As vehicle manufacturers strive to keep their products at the leading edge of design and innovation, synchronizing the development of these systems becomes a challenge. Safety systems are no exception. Minimizing test setup variation is a crucial part of the development process, and is often controlled by using data from computer simulations as a guide. Decisions made using these simulations can influence the vehicle components, such as airbag size and geometry, seatbelt function, and interior materials choices, which directly affect an occupant in the event of a crash.
MGA’s Occupant Seating Studies involve setting a test vehicle’s seat to the proper position, according to each relevant testing protocol. Experienced dummy positioners then place the correctly configured crash test dummy into the seat and maneuver it into the proper position. A Coordinate Measuring Machine (CMM) is used provide three-dimensional location information for all parts of the dummy relative to the test vehicle. To determine a range of possible dummy positions, multiple iterations of this process are then completed. Often multiple MGA dummy positioning personnel are used to develop an overall repeatability matrix for each seating position which can help our customers to understand a possible range of dummy setting expectations.
Seating crash test dummies to the position determined by the simulation model helps to streamline the transition from theoretical to real-world performance. However, seat positions and interiors can change dramatically throughout the design phase effecting the occupant location and interaction with interior components. Reseating dummies based on applicable industry test protocols, incorporating these running changes, helps minimize inaccuracies in both physical and computer simulated testing. Many other factors can further increase test setup variation such as; manufacturing tolerances, seat material properties (leather vs. cloth), vehicle options (sport seats vs. standard). Seating actual test dummies in physical test vehicles provides the most accurate information of the dummy’s location.
For over 10 years, MGA has offered occupant-positioning evaluations, which can be performed throughout the vehicle design and development process, utilizing an entire fleet of test dummies:
- Hybrid III Family (HIII-50M, HIII5F, HIII-10YO, HIII-6YO, HIII-3YO)
- ES-2re (50th Male)
- SID-IIs (5th Female)
- WorldSID (50th Male)
MGA’s staff of expert dummy positioners perform Occupant Seating Studies, applying their knowledge of current industry standards and regulation protocols such as NHTSA FMVSS 208 / 214, NHTSA NCAP, IIHS, Euro NCAP, etc.
The measurements and additional information gathered via MGA’s Occupant Seating Studies help to ensure that future crash-test simulations, vehicle component tests, and full-scale crash tests follow the applicable industry standard test protocols and minimize variation throughout the development process.