CChIPS 2017-2018 Research Portfolio

An Analysis of the Interaction between Child Occupants and Deploying Frontal Passenger Airbag- a Modern Examination

Principal InvestigatorAditya Belwadi, PhD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Historically, much attention has been devoted to the interaction between children and frontal passenger air bags. With the advancement of innovations in airbag design in the last decade, the aggressivity and deployment characteristics of passenger airbags have greatly changed. In addition, seatbelt technology in the front seat has been designed to work in conjunction with the airbag to further help position the occupant and manage the crash energy. This project will explore and quantify the injury potential for children in front of a deploying modern front passenger air bag for those in forward facing child restraints and booster seats across a range of misuse conditions and crash scenarios.

Evaluating the Efficacy of Belt Positioning Booster Seat Design (high-back, low-back and height-less booster) in Nearside Impacts with and without Side Curtain Airbags

Principal Investigator: Aditya Belwadi, PhD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Belt-positioning booster seats are recommended for children who use vehicle seat belts as primary restraints but who are too small to obtain good belt fit. The vast majority of previous research evaluating the protection afforded by booster seats has been conducted in frontal crash conditions. This study focuses on nearside impacts, a crash condition that has gained attention in child occupant protection. The project builds on previous CChIPS work and focuses on evaluating the effect of various routing configurations for booster seat designs on protection afforded in nearside impacts – both lateral and oblique crash modes including with and without side curtain airbags.

Evaluation of CRS and vehicle features associated with improved top tether attachment rates
Principal Investigator: Julie Bing, MS, The Ohio State University & John Bolte, PhD, The Ohio State University

Proper use of the top tether is associated with reduced head excursion and reduction of other injury metrics in forward-facing child restraint systems (FF CRS). Even imperfect top tether attachments can still provide some degree of protection to occupants. Unfortunately, the top tether is only attached in approximately 50% of FF CRS installations. Studies indicate that large percentages of caregivers do not realize that the top tether exists, and do not realize their vehicle has designated anchor points for it. The long term objective of the study is to improve top tether usage rates in FF CRS installations.

Evaluation of Variability in Five-point Harness Tightening Procedures

Principal Investigator: Julie Bing, MS, The Ohio State University & John Bolte, PhD, The Ohio State University

CRS sled testing efforts depend on the ability of the sled protocol to produce consistent results. Small variations in test benches, seat belt tensions, ATD calibrations, and harness tensions can affect the quality of test results. One important aspect of CRS testing which has not been extensively studied is the method by which the harness is tightened, and the process of verifying that consistent harness tensions are being used across trials. The long term goal is to improve the repeatability and reproducibility of sled tests by identifying optimal CRS harness tightening procedure(s) to incorporate into industry sled testing protocols.

Large Omnidirectional Child (LODC) ATD: Round Robin Testing
Principal Investigator: John Bolte, PhD, The Ohio State University

In 2011, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) initiated a research project to guide the development of a new pediatric ATD that would identify how to maintain the safety of children transitioning between belt-positioning boosters and standard vehicle restraints. The result of the 5-year project is the large omnidirectional child (LODC) ATD. While the LODC has undergone numerous biofidelity tests by Vehicle Research and Test Center (VRTC), it is important for potential users of the ATD to become better acquainted with it and to continue to test the LODC in various impact conditions. The long-term objective is to assist VRTC/NHTSA in documenting the reproducibility, repeatability, durability, usability and biofidelity, of the newly designed LODC ATD. The documented LODC will allow for more realistic testing of current safety systems being incorporated into vehicles.

Pediatric Response to Oblique Loading in Aircraft Seats with Standard and Inflatable Seat Belts 
Principal InvestigatorJohn Bolte, PhD, The Ohio State University

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recommends that all children ride in a size-appropriate child restraint system (CRS) while onboard aircraft. As aircraft seating evolves to accommodate the safety and comfort needs of the adult population, all such changes should be evaluated to determine their impact on the pediatric population. Little data exists to ensure satisfactory performance of CRS in aircraft crashes. More data from dynamic crash tests could influence a change in the FAA policy to better accommodate families traveling with children. The long-term objective is to inform the policies and regulations of the FAA regarding CRS use on aircraft with obliquely oriented passenger seats and/or inflatable seat belts. Positive outcomes could allow the FAA to better accommodate families traveling with children in CRS.

Influence of CRS Fit on Far Side Impacts
Principal Investigator: Yun Seok Kang, PhD, The Ohio State University

Side impacts are the second most frequent type of collision and can cause serious injuries to pediatric occupants. While higher fatality rates have been reported for near-side impacts, serious non-fatal injuries have been reported for far-side impacts as well, where little or no vehicle intrusion was reported. The fit of the CRS, especially problems which produce gaps between the CRS and vehicle seat surfaces, could affect occupant and CRS responses in side impacts. The influence of the CRS fit into vehicle seats on anthropomorphic test device (ATD) kinematics in side impacts is not well understood yet. The long-term objective is to quantify the kinematics of the system, providing information to allow CRS and vehicle engineers to understand the influence of the CRS fit on responses of the CRS and ATD in side impacts. The information will help engineers optimally design their products to improve child safety.

Emergency Autonomous to Manual Takeover in Driving Simulator: Teens vs. Adult Warning System Effectiveness (Year 2)
Principal Investigator: Helen Loeb, PhD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Semi-autonomous vehicles are emerging, with some in the auto industry targeting 2020 for autonomous cars. A high level of vehicle automation has great potential to improve safety by dramatically cutting the traffic fatality rate. The challenge, however, is to deploy these vehicles safely. While the general expectation is that the self-driving technology will bring us ever closer to the Vision Zero objective of no traffic fatalities, it is imperative to consider the safety of self-driving and of the ‘human in the loop’ framework before the technology gets widely deployed. The goal of this project is to assess the human aptitude -- especially teens and novice drivers -- to take over from autonomous to manual mode in response to a warning signal.

Vertical Vehicle Kinematics in Frontal Crashes – Implications for Rear Row Occupants
Principal Investigator: Matthew Maltese, PhD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

During a frontal crash test, the vehicle experiences principally longitudinal deceleration, but also vertical kinematics that cause the rear of the vehicle to move upward or “pitch” forward. In the literature, research studies on vehicle vertical kinematics in frontal crash tests is sparse but spans decades. A 2016 a study showed that the additional vehicle body pitch to a planar sled test was essential to reproducing ATD injury metrics observed in full scale frontal crash tests. There is no published study that systematically quantifies the characteristics of vehicle vertical kinematics with a focus on rear occupants or children. This research is part of a broader effort to elucidate vehicle crashworthiness characteristics that are pertinent to pediatric occupants.

Efficacy of Automatic Emergency Braking during SHRP2 Rear-End Crashes

Principal Investigator: Thomas Seacrist, MBE, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

Among motor vehicle crashes, rear-ends are the most common form of crash, particularly among novice teen drivers.  Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) has the potential to prevent or reduce the severity of these rear-end crashes. The SHRP2 Naturalistic Driving Study offers a unique opportunity to evaluate the potential efficacy of AEB on real-world crash scenarios. This project aims to recreate SHRP2 scenarios with the presence of AEB to determine if the application of AEB would have effectively prevented the rear-end crash.

Ensuring safety of children in self-driving vehicles
Principal InvestigatorPatrice Tremoulet, PhD, The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia

With the launch of Uber, Lyft and other mobile applications, many parents are now relying on Uber to shuttle their children across town to afterschool activities or other functions. The question about the proper age for a minor to be unaccompanied in a cab becomes more complicated with the recent launches of Uber self-driving cabs in Pittsburgh and in San Francisco. At which age can a child ride unaccompanied by an adult in a self-driving car? How do we ensure that this transportation option is safe for children? Do self-driving cars need special equipment to address a child’s needs? The study's ultimate goal is to develop a line of research to generate recommendations for the design and safe use of Highly Automated Vehicles (HAV) by children. This new line of research will anticipate the needs of children and will provide the scientific foundation for child-safe HAVs.


About This Center

This Center is made possible through a grant from the National Science Foundation (NSF) which unites CHOP, University of Pennsylvania, and The Ohio State University researchers with R&D leaders in the automotive and insurance industries to translate research findings into tangible innovations in safety technology and public education programs.

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