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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Development of an active anti-whiplash automotive seat to reduce whiplash injuries following a rear-end collision Mang, Daniel


Whiplash injuries remain the most common injury associated with motor vehicle crashes despite the introduction of anti-whiplash seats. The overall goal of the experiments presented in this dissertation was to design, build and test a novel Experimental anti-whiplash automotive seat to prevent whiplash injuries following low-speed, rear-end collisions. The key safety features of the Experimental seat included the dynamic control of seat hinge rotation and seatback cushion deformation. These safety features were deployed before and during the collision with the aim to reduce occupant kinematic and kinetic responses and to better minimize the relative motion between the head and the upper torso. Four experiments were conducted to better understand the performance of current anti-whiplash seats during low to moderate collision severities (Experiment 1) and to evaluate the performance of the Experimental seat (Experiments 2–4). In Experiment 1, the performance of four existing anti-whiplash seats were compared in their abilities to reduce anthropomorphic test device (ATD) responses during a series of low to moderate collision speed changes (Δv=2–14 km/h). Good-rated seats, according to the Research Council for Automobile Repairs/International Insurance Whiplash Prevention Group (RCAR/IIWPG), attenuated only four peak ATD responses compared to poor-rated seats. The next three experiments tested the two safety mechanisms of the Experimental seat: seat hinge rotation only (Experiment 2), seatback cushion deformation only (Experiment 3) and the co-activation of both safety mechanisms (Experiment 4). In comparison to a Control seat, actively controlling seat hinge rotation decreased most ATD responses and neck injury criteria by 23–85% while modulating seatback deformation attenuated most occupant responses and all neck injury criteria by 15–82%. In Experiment 4, the Experimental seat combining both safety mechanisms was compared to four existing anti-whiplash seats and yielded decreases in ATD responses of 25–99% and in neck injury criteria of 9–73% for collision speeds of 4 km/h or greater. The results of these experiments demonstrated that the Experimental anti-whiplash seat with the dynamic control of seat hinge rotation and seatback cushion deformation could potentially be an effective solution to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries and improve occupant safety.

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Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International