How Moving Dummies Help Test Car Safety Systems

AB Dynamics employs many tools to test advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) according to rigorous standards by automotive safety agencies like Euro NCAP and NHTSA. One such tool is the Soft Pedestrian Target, or SPT, that simulates a pedestrian in a real-world environment.

Following is a transcript of the video:

Narrator: These biking, strolling, rolling dummies take the hits so you don’t have to. They exist to make sure the pedestrian avoidance systems in today’s modern cars work. That is, when a kid runs out into the street from behind a car or a cyclist pedals into a blind spot unseen, the car takes notice and intervenes, braking or evading suddenly, likely saving the life of the pedestrian you failed to notice. You can trust your car will do the right thing when the moment comes because, before you took the wheel, it may have already avoided hundreds of kids and dozens of cyclists – those human-like dummies clad in blue pants indifferent to the cars barrelling in their direction.

How dummy pedestrians help test car safety systems.

Narrator: Advanced driver assistance systems. ADAS. They’re the technology that enables your car to brake, change lanes, or swerve around obstacles for you in emergency situations, and they’re made by different companies and operate to different results. That’s why organizations like the European New Car Assessment Programme and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in the United States impose rules that all manufacturers have to stick to on their ADAS tests. The rules demand a very specific speed, impact location, and lighting condition among other specifications. That’s where the Soft Pedestrian Target, or SPT, comes in. The pedestrian target sits on a robust pad or platform. The pad carries a control system that, among other things, synchronizes the pedestrian with the test vehicle, meaning that, in 100 tests, the pedestrian would arrive at the same place in front of the car at the right time at the right speed at the right angle, every single time. When the vehicle is at the correct distance from the impact point, the Soft Pedestrian Target system initiates the movement of the platform. The pedestrian target enables manufacturers to reliably comply with highly specific testing protocols repeatedly. 

This is James Buck. He’s a senior project engineer at AB Dynamics. He walked us through a test scenario using the SPT system.

James Buck: The test being shown here is as described in the 2018 Euro NCAP Vulnerable Road User test protocol whereby the subject vehicle is driving and a child suddenly runs out from behind two parked cars. This test determines whether the vehicle’s ADAS system reacts quickly enough to avoid hitting the child.

Narrator: For this scenario, the Soft Pedestrian Target is set to run perpendicular to the subject vehicle.

Buck: Since the Euro NCAP protocol requires the subject vehicle to be driven in a very specific manner, you need a driving robot to ensure that the path following and the speed of the vehicle remains in tolerance. The driver in the subject vehicle has now activated the robots, and the vehicle is following the specified path and speed profile. When the vehicle is at the correct distance from the impact point, the Soft Pedestrian Target system initiates the movement of the platform. This automatic triggering guarantees that the impact point is as described in the protocol, that is unless the vehicle breaks automatically to avoid the dummy. In this example, we have disabled the ADAS systems in the vehicle such that the vehicle will strike the target.

Narrator: The contribution these dummies make to keeping our pedestrians safe is clear.

For more visit:
https://www.facebook.com/ABDynamicsUK
https://www.abdynamics.com/

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How Moving Dummies Help Test Car Safety Systems

Why Tesla’s Model X Was The First SUV To Receive A Perfect Crash Test Rating

SUVs are generally safe, but have a high rollover probability. Tesla was able to overcome this obstacle with their Model X SUV. Here’s how they did it.

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The following is a transcript of the video:

Narrator: This Tesla Model X refuses to roll over. Unlike most SUVs which tend to roll over with ease, the Model X continues to return to an upright position. Here’s why the Model X was the first SUV to receive a perfect crash test rating. When it comes to vehicle safety, size matters. So it’s not uncommon for SUVs to be generally safer than your standard sedan. However, they tend to have one big shortcoming. Rollovers.

SUVs are notorious for having a high center of gravity causing them to roll over when put into tight maneuvering situations, or a side impact. Rollovers can result in the partial or full ejection of passengers from the vehicle, increasing the chances of injury or death. In 2016, rollovers happened in one percent of serious crashes in passenger vehicles but accounted for one-third of collision-related deaths. 

Over the past three decades, automakers have been able to reduce the frequency of rollovers in vehicles with technology and more stable designs. However, once a serious impact occurs it’s just basic physics. A higher center of gravity increases the likelihood of a car tipping or rolling over.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration or NHTSA is the only organization that tests rollover resistance. They also test frontal crashes and side impacts from a pole and barrier. After each test, they measure readings from a dummy to determine how much damage a real person is likely to sustain. They use this data to determine a safety rating in each category and an overall safety rating for the vehicle.

Amongst its many luxury features, the Model X hosts active safety technology such as collision avoidance systems and automatic emergency braking. But what sets the Model X apart is its design. Like other Teslas, the Model X has a large, rigid battery pack located on the floor of the vehicle. This gives the Model X a much lower center of gravity than your average SUV. In the event of a collision that would normally cause an SUV to roll over, this would happen instead.

But rollovers are just one aspect of the safety test. Since the Model X is an electric vehicle, there’s no need for mechanical components in the hood of the car. This allows for a much larger crumple zone to absorb energy from a frontal crash. It also has specially-made side sills that absorb energy in addition to its rigid side pillars. These features help reduce the force exerted on passengers and increases their protection. But if you don’t have $80,000 laying around for a Model X there’s still plenty of SUVs out there with excellent safety ratings.

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Why Tesla’s Model X Was The First SUV To Receive A Perfect Crash Test Rating