Previous research in the field of vehicle passive safety contributed to significant improvements in vehicle and road safety. However, this research was focused on average protective measures optimised for 'average occupants' whereas in the real world substantial differences appear under factors like gender, age and size. Brought forward by stakeholders, this topic was recognised by the EU Commission and put high on the research agenda. As a consequence four proposals were submitted in this field dealing with two topics of high importance:
- child safety, addressing improved numerical and experimental test procedures for younger children as well as adolescents;
- thoracic injuries, addressing a body part which on the one hand side is highly at risk during collisions as found in previous EU research projects like VC COMPAT, PRISM and FID and on the other hand subject to large biometric variations over age, gender and size due to geometry and material changes in bones.
All four were positively evaluated. In the Evaluation Summary Reports it was indicated that clustering of these initiatives was strongly recommended. To realise the targets for road safety in the future, stakeholders indicated the necessity of integrating research capacities currently existing or emerging as far as possible. For this purpose COVER brought together coordinators of four FP7 projects in the field of crash biomechanics: CASPER, EPOCh, THOMO and THORAX.
To realise the targets for road safety in the future, stakeholders indicated the necessity of integrating research capacities currently existing or emerging as far as possible. For this purpose the general objectives of COVER were to develop a harmonised and consistent direction of research and to accelerate the implementation of research findings of four complementary research initiatives in the field of crash bio mechanics. To maximise the benefits gained from the individual initiatives synergies between the projects was fully exploited by coordinating the exchange and usage of results, joining dissemination actions towards relevant stakeholders, and exchanging of best practices and policies with respect to relevant aspects like test methods and deployment strategies. For the objective of dissemination - both towards relevant high-level stakeholders and the general public - a coordinated approach was an important factor in providing a clear message and obtaining the necessary visibility. This visibility of research results will be the precondition of the effective deployment in vehicle safety products and enhanced test and evaluation methods.
Subsequently, COVER brought together coordinators / key partners of four FP7 initiatives. Together with partners from the participating projects the coordinators identified joined research activities needed to provide the required bio mechanical know-how embedded in numerical and experimental tools that enable the design and evaluation of new (improved) vehicle safety technologies.
Scientific and Technological objectives
The aim of this Coordination and Support Action is to accelerate improvements in bio mechanical tools for the design and evaluation of vehicle crash safety systems with the goal to further reduce the number of annual road victims for the European Union. The joint technical and scientific objective of COVER is to consolidate research and development activities related to bio mechanics, providing tools and know-how to industry and governments for future enhancement of vehicle safety.
Specific objectives were:
- Implementation and coordination of four research activities dealing with human physical (bio mechanics) aspects as identified by coordinators and partners of the participating projects:
- coordinate activities related to collection and analysis of accident data;
- coordination of activities related to the development of consistent sets of human data related
As a Coordination and Support Action, COVER will not produce its own research results other than in depth accident data as input for involved initiatives. However, COVER will be vital for an efficient conduction of several European research projects in the field of bio mechanics for crash protection by coordinating some joined activities and dissemination. External dissemination as intended in COVER, is a key factor to create necessary visibility and acceptance at stakeholders. The main achievements of COVER will be a significant reduction of lead times for acceptance and implementation of research findings from the participating initiatives, all dealing with vehicle safety. As such COVER is a direct response to the societal need for safe cars as described above and aims to contribute to the reduction of the numbers of fatalities and injuries as well as the severity of injuries on roads.
Spreading excellence and exploiting results
Cover includes a range of support actions like monitoring and assessment of ongoing research world-wide, organisation of workshops and joined meetings to exchange best practices. For the participating projects the added value will be that each of them can learn from the results of the other projects, direct its further activities accordingly and avoid following unpromising approaches identified in other projects. Moreover, COVER will stimulate exchange of costly experimental data. This will increase the efficiency of the projects and provide an extended scientific basis for much of the research work in individual projects. All participants of the involved underlying projects will clearly benefit from COVER by gaining additional technical and strategic information from a wide set of projects related to vehicle safety.
Apart from in-depth accident data required for some of the involved projects COVER will not produce its own research results and has therefore not defined any exploitation related activities of its own. But as a Coordination Action, COVER will be vital for an efficient conduction of several European research projects in the field of impact bio mechanics. As such, COVER allows the best possible use of efforts invested in these research activities. Via its coordination activities and additional exchange of best practices COVER will fully exploit synergies between the initiatives and as such accelerate the introduction of new 'crucial' technologies in vehicles to further reduce r
The COVER project provided a framework for the exchange of information between the main EU FP7 projects on human injury biomechanics in road vehicle collisions, as well as aligning their dissemination strategies. This overview report is an example of the cooperation brought about by COVER in the area of child safety. It drew together the latest research and findings from two complimentary projects; CASPER and EPOCh, to provide a single source of information for researchers and stakeholders working in the field.
The EPOCh project studied injuries to older children in preparation for the development of the Q10 dummy. Section 3.2 presented the main body regions that are injured in older children and described the key injury mechanisms. The head was the most frequently injured body region, in both front and side impact, through contact with the vehicle interior. The abdomen was noted as the next most significant body region to protect, highlighting the need for some means of detecting, and ideally measuring abdomen loading in the Q10 (as well as other dummies used for the assessment of non-integral child restraint systems).
Both CASPER and EPOCh contributed to the development of the Q-Series dummies and examples of their main research work were included in this overview report in Chapter 4. The Q-Series is expected to help bring about a step forward in the protection of children in cars and is specified in the new UN Regulation on 'Enhanced Child Restraint Systems'. Section 4.1 presented an investigation of different solutions to improve the response of the dummy by removing the gap between the legs and pelvis (to prevent the belt from becoming trapped). The results of sled tests were promising, but the authors concluded that further work would be needed to develop a solution that is suitable for a regulation. Section 4.2 described the development and assessment of abdomen sensors for the Q-Series, undertaken within CASPER. The work verified the capacity of the sensors to detect abdomen loading, including first experiments with the sensors fitted in the Q10 dummy. Section 4.3 presented an evaluation of the biofidelity, sensitivity, repeatability and durability of the Q10 performed by the EPOCh project. The dummy performed according to its design specifications and within the expectations of the project.
With a new dummy, such as the Q-Series, it is essential to provide a means of interpreting the dummy measurements in terms of the risk of injury to children, as well as measurement thresholds
An efficient and integrated mobility system:
- Secure transport
- Acting on transport safety: saving thousands of lives