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Open access virtual testing protocols for enhanced road users safety

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - VIRTUAL (Open access virtual testing protocols for enhanced road users safety)

Reporting period: 2018-06-01 to 2019-11-30

The overall objective of VIRTUAL is to improve the safety of urban road users by providing procedures and open access tools to assess the benefit of novel safety systems. The goal is to establish a European based global hub for Open Source Virtual Testing (VT) freely accessible on the internet and to demonstrate its success in traffic safety.

In the assessment of road user and vehicle occupant safety, current physical testing is limited to a few scenarios. Virtual Testing offers an opportunity to identify best safety performances by introducing a wider range of test scenarios. The VIRTUAL project will: (1) Identify impact scenarios relevant to present and future road traffic, (2) develop tools and protocols for the testing of protective equipment including cost-benefit analysis, and (3) create an OpenVT platform to foster the uptake of virtual testing.

Currently the average male is the norm representing the adult population in both physical and virtual testing. In the VIRTUAL project Open Source Human Body Models (OS-HBMs) of both average women and men will be developed in a format that is scalable to represent all different ages and sizes for both car occupants, pedestrians, cyclists, and standing occupants in public transport.
The vision of VIRTUAL is that safety assessment of new vehicles in 2030 will be done with models of both the female and male part of the population equally taken into consideration. This will result in increased robustness of safety features and thus reduced loss of life and health in the society due to vehicle related crashes.
To identify relevant impact scenarios the safety of standing passengers on public transport has been reviewed, scenarios for Vulnerable Road User testing have been identified and new seated positions as well as crash configurations for future vehicles have been described. Furthermore, volunteer tests for identifying strategies to maintain balance as a standing occupant in public transport have been performed.

Tools and protocols for testing are centred around the open virtual testing platform on which the human body models will be provided. This platform has been established and follows the open access approach. This means that the platform not only provides the models, but also complements other approaches and provides guidelines on how to implement new scenarios in test procedures.

An initial planning phase for the Open Source (OS) models was performed to establish the processes and structures of the modelling activities. Lessons learned from previous HBM activities were reviewed with Associated Partners and the Advisory Group. A workshop on Open Source Human Body Model Development was organised on October 17th, 2018 in Berlin. For consistent application in the project, data file structures for the description of geometry, material properties, Injury Detection Systems (IDSs), and similar supporting input/output formats have been established. The developed data structures follow existing best practice, and have been openly documented for future development, potentially for regulation and standardisation procedures. Scaling methodologies, to facilitate morphing the models for stature and age, were reviewed to identify important key issues to be considered in further model development. The original reference models (PIPER child and VIVA OS-HBM 50F) have been configured and archived for traceability.

Development of Open source HBMs, based on the previously developed average female VIVA HBM representing vehicle occupants and different road users required to perform various VT has been initiated. The baseline models will represent average male and female occupants and VRUs. The models being developed in the VIRTUAL project, having undergone extensive enhancement, will be known as VIVA+ models. The baseline models of VIVA+ family of models will include average female (VIVA+ 50F) and average male (VIVA+ 50M) vehicle occupants and road users (pedestrian and cyclist). The Open VT GitLab platform is used for collaborative development of the VIVA+ models. The baseline models will also be configured for use with currently available morphing tools to generate non-average HBMs. The VIVA+ models will contain scaling methodologies to facilitate morphing the models for stature and age.
The OS-HBMs developed within VIRTUAL will represent a wider range of the population than is found on the market today. The model of the average female is essential. No other model representing the average female is available and, as a result, it is not yet possible to assess the safety of females and males equally.

The male and female VIVA+ versions will be developed using an identical source of data for females and males regarding anthropometry as well as body detailed body shapes. This will be important for research purposes when investigating reasons for the generally higher vulnerability in females. The seated VIVA+ versions will be accompanied by physical loading devices for the rear impact use case. These are a type of crash test dummies, that are designed and instrumented to generate validation data for FE models of seats, for rear impact simulation. The combination of the physical validation testing and the VIVA+ models will provide a unique new virtual test chain that will allow us to investigate the potential for improved safety system robustness with regard to differences in accident conditions and of course representing both the female and the male population. Child safety will be addressed in a use case where potential misfit, meaning issues with compatibility between the child seat and the car rear seat and anchorage system, is investigated with virtual testing that will allow for a wide range of load cases to be assessed to achieve robustness.

So far, all attempts at introducing Virtual Testing in safety assessment protocols have failed. Thus, there is a need for a specific approach demonstrating the capabilities of VT in a realistic scenario. VIRTUAL will contribute towards the implementation of such measures in the Euro NCAP assessment process. VIRTUAL will be successful in implementing VT, as the virtual model of the occupant to be tested will be provided in open source code together with the VT protocol.

The VIRTUAL project is particularly dedicated to an open access approach which does not yet exist for vehicle safety assessment. It will be software code independent and provide a total solution for VT ranging from models to specifications, protocols and user support.
Before and after VIRTUAL