February 19, 2002

SAE seminar to examine how car designs can protect pedestrians hit by cars

Warrendale, Pennsylvania – Can vehicles be designed to help minimize the damage inflicted on innocent bystanders when a vehicle loses control? Automotive engineers at Concept Technologie GmbH, Austria, say they can, and will share their research during the SAE 2002 World Congress, March 4 – 7, Cobo Center, Detroit, Michigan, USA.

“In the European Union,” says Martin Krenn, Head of Project Management at Concept Technologie, “about 40,000 people perish in accidents involving automobiles. More than 6,000 of these accidents kill pedestrians.

“In the United States in the year 2000, about 40,000 people died in auto-related accidents and almost 5,000 of these fatalities were pedestrians. Pedestrian deaths can be reduced by means of passive pedestrian protection.”

Passive Pedestrian Protection can be defined as measures on a vehicle which provide more safety for pedestrians in case of an accident. These measures can vary, such as deformation materials in the bonnet area and front-end structure or “pedestrian friendly” front geometries or even outside airbags to protect the weakest form of road users.

“By modifying the design of a vehicle’s front-end structure,” says Krenn, “most of the kinetic energy in an accident between pedestrian and vehicle can be absorbed by the car instead of the person.”

According to the researchers, the ideal car design would be that the vehicle absorbs all the kinetic energy so that the human body keeps position on the vehicle where hit, avoiding any secondary impact when hitting the ground after collision. The impact energy absorbed through deformation of the vehicle components where the crash occurs is dependent on the area of the vehicle and the material used to manufacture the car.

The European Commission is in favour of creating a testing procedure within the automotive industry to evaluate a vehicle’s impact on pedestrians.

“Passive Pedestrian Protection-Evaluation of Simulations Versus Test Results According to EEVC WG 17 Specifications” will be presented 2:30 p.m., Monday, March 4, Room W1-55.

SAE World Congress, the world’s largest showcase of automotive engineering technologies, attracts attendees from more than 50 countries. For more details, including registration and special events, visit the SAE 2002 World Congress web site at www.sae.org/congress or call 1-877-SAE-CONG (723-2664); outside the U.S. and Canada, call 1-724-772-4027.

Connect with Autos.ca