Digital Human Body Model

Virtual cars, virtual drivers

I’ve co-written and submitted another FP7 proposal.

Over the past few months I’ve been co-writing another proposal for a European FP7 project, collaborating with Bax & Willems Consulting Venturing in Barcelona (a company run by my brother). For a consortium of 12 academic and industrial partners from the automotive industry – including major car makers – we wrote a hefty 85-page document to propose research on the use of Digital Human Body Models for safety testing, especially with regards to new “active pre-crash” systems that are entering the market. These systems will autonomously apply the brakes if a crash is imminent and the human driver fails to do so.

Advanced emergency braking systems haven proven to reduce the number of accidents and their severity, and in line with the EU’s target of 50% accident fatality reduction between 2010 and 2020 these systems will be mandatory on all new passenger cars in the EU by 2014 (not all of them will autonomously brake, they might just warn the driver). Current crash tests using instrumented dummies—such as done for EURO-NCAP safety ratings—is not representative of the behaviour of human occupants, who will try to brake, swerve and brace for impact prior to a potential crash. Simulations that use digital human body models that include parameters to describe this active behaviour can be used, but need further development and validation before widespread adoption by the sector.

Last year I also co-authored two FP7 proposals (on the safety aspects of electrically powered vehicles), and I’m happy to say that both projects got funded and are currently underway. Fingers crossed the current proposal has similar success.

What’s your take on European Commission funding schemes?

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