Skip to main content

Open access virtual testing protocols for enhanced road users safety

Periodic Reporting for period 2 - VIRTUAL (Open access virtual testing protocols for enhanced road users safety)

Reporting period: 2019-12-01 to 2021-05-31

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 (OS) Virtual Testing (VT) freely accessible on the internet and to demonstrate its success in traffic safety. In the VIRTUAL project OS Human Body Models (OS-HBMs) of both men and women will be developed in a format that is scalable to represent all different ages and sizes for car occupants, Vulnerable Road Users (VRU), and users of 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. Currently the average male is the norm representing the adult population in both physical and virtual testing.
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
(3) create an OpenVT platform to foster the uptake of virtual testing
A European based global hub for OS VT, the OpenVT platform, has been developed and launched. The OS-HBMs, the VIVA+ 50F O and 50M O as seated occupants and the VIVA+ 50F P as standing person, has been developed. An OS child seat and two vehicle seat models have been developed and the tools in the virtual test chain for VRUs have been both developed and demonstrated. For standing occupants in public transport, a series of volunteer tests has been conducted and various balance strategies have been identified, and interior structures have been developed. In addition, a framework for the cost-benefit analysis has been developed. So far, 10 scientific publications, 10 presentations and six workshops have been completed.
On the OpenVT platform ( a large amount of content has been uploaded, including content developed outside of VIRTUAL. The platform fulfils it functionality as a hub for tools and models related to virtual testing with a growing number of users. Tools and protocols for testing are centered 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.

The baseline VIVA+ model, the 50F seated occupant (VIVA+ 50F O) model has been further enhanced and is continuously being refined and validated. Two morphed models of the base model, the 50M seated occupant (VIVA+ 50M O) and the 50F standing models (VIVA+ 50F P), have been developed and applied within the project for safety assessments. A controller to replicate a human-like pre-crash response has been included for the standing occupant model in public transport. The VIVA+ models have been designed to be optimised for morphing into different anthropometries and postures. They are validated for a wide range of load cases and have been developed to be robust for various applications. Guidelines for positioning and related metadata files have been developed which enable repositioning of the model into other postures in the future. The VIVA+ models and related documentation and tools are available on the OpenVT platform for internal use so far and will be publicly available at the end of the project.

The development of the Seat Evaluation Tool (SET) has progressed. This tool will be a vital component in the virtual test chain in the rear impact use case. Together with the seated female and male VIVA+ versions developed in VIRTUAL, this forms the basis for a future virtual test procedure where physical tests are used to ensure that the FE-models of vehicle seats are valid, and virtual simulations can confirm a robust crash protection for a range of conditions with varying occupant properties and crash characteristics.
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.
For VRUs, the most relevant injury types have been identified and compared to current assessments. A method to close the gap between assessment of active and passive VRU safety assessment was designed and applied in some basic use cases.
Regarding safety for users of public transport, identifying different strategies for erect passengers to retain balance during travel has been carried out. Furthermore, volunteer tests for identifying strategies to maintain balance as a standing occupant in public transport have been performed.
Tools for cost-benefit analysis of innovative automotive safety systems based on VT have been provided on the OpenVT platform.
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 are being developed using an identical source of data for females and males regarding anthropometry. 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, the Seat Evaluation Tool (SET) for the rear impact use case. The SET 50F and 50M 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, both regarding differences in accident conditions and biological gender.
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 realistic scenarios. 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 OS code together with the VT protocol.
The VIRTUAL project is particularly dedicated to an open access approach. It will be software code independent and provide a total solution for VT ranging from models to specifications, protocols, and user support. On the OpenVT platform tools and scripts will be available at the end of the project. The following features are already publicly available:
VRU Pre crash tool,
VIRTUAL Cost Benefit Analysis Tool
Post processing routines for PIPER child models
Before and after VIRTUAL