Average male and female virtual dummy model (BioRID and EvaRID) simulations with two seat concepts in the Euro NCAP low severity rear impact test configuration

Accid Anal Prev. 2018 May:114:62-70. doi: 10.1016/j.aap.2017.05.029. Epub 2017 Jun 13.


Soft tissue neck injuries, also referred to as whiplash injuries, which can lead to long term suffering accounts for more than 60% of the cost of all injuries leading to permanent medical impairment for the insurance companies, with respect to injuries sustained in vehicle crashes. These injuries are sustained in all impact directions, however they are most common in rear impacts. Injury statistics have since the mid-1960s consistently shown that females are subject to a higher risk of sustaining this type of injury than males, on average twice the risk of injury. Furthermore, some recently developed anti-whiplash systems have revealed they provide less protection for females than males. The protection of both males and females should be addresses equally when designing and evaluating vehicle safety systems to ensure maximum safety for everyone. This is currently not the case. The norm for crash test dummies representing humans in crash test laboratories is an average male. The female part of the population is not represented in tests performed by consumer information organisations such as NCAP or in regulatory tests due to the absence of a physical dummy representing an average female. Recently, the world first virtual model of an average female crash test dummy was developed. In this study, simulations were run with both this model and an average male dummy model, seated in a simplified model of a vehicle seat. The results of the simulations were compared to earlier published results from simulations run in the same test set-up with a vehicle concepts seat. The three crash pulse severities of the Euro NCAP low severity rear impact test were applied. The motion of the neck, head and upper torso were analysed in addition to the accelerations and the Neck Injury Criterion (NIC). Furthermore, the response of the virtual models was compared to the response of volunteers as well as the average male model, to that of the response of a physical dummy model. Simulations with the virtual male and female dummy models revealed differences in dynamic response related to the crash severity, as well as between the two dummies in the two different seat models. For the comparison of the response of the virtual models to the response of the volunteers and the physical dummy model, the peak angular motion of the first thoracic vertebra as found in the volunteer tests and mimicked by the physical dummy were not of the same magnitude in the virtual models. The results of the study highlight the need for an extended test matrix that includes an average female dummy model to evaluate the level of occupant protection different seats provide in vehicle crashes. This would provide developers with an additional tool to ensure that both male and female occupants receive satisfactory protection and promote seat concepts that provide the best possible protection for the whole adult population. This study shows that using the mathematical models available today can provide insights suitable for future testing.

Keywords: Male and female; Neck injuries; Rear impact simulations; Seat design; Whiplash protection.

MeSH terms

  • Acceleration
  • Accidents, Traffic*
  • Biomechanical Phenomena
  • Female
  • Head / physiology
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Manikins
  • Models, Biological*
  • Models, Theoretical
  • Motion
  • Neck / physiology
  • Posture
  • Protective Devices / standards*
  • Research Design
  • Risk
  • Safety*
  • Seat Belts
  • Sex Factors
  • Thoracic Vertebrae / physiology
  • Torso
  • Whiplash Injuries / etiology
  • Whiplash Injuries / prevention & control*