New Requirements for Vehicle Safety

New Requirements for Vehicle Safety

The current requirements regarding vehicle safety are increasing dynamically. Automated driving is leading to a rise in complexity as well as in the depth, breadth and cost of the testing involved, while at the same time the amount of time available for testing is being reduced. For that reason, Bertrandt is developing new approaches towards integral vehicle testing. This includes new methods, a greater amount of test visualisation and a stronger interconnection between active and passive safety.

Bertrandt develops specific systems and functions for comprehensive vehicle safety for all leading car manufacturers and system suppliers. At the same time, we are actively involved in the increasing level of vehicle automation and connectivity through numerous projects in the automotive industry. Our many years of experience ensure that we have the necessary expertise in all relevant methods and functions of active safety, from test specification, development and automation to the execution and analysis of test cases with the aid of algorithms that we have developed ourselves. In the validation process, we also take on responsibility for system coordination with suppliers, thus making us increasingly responsible for the overall safety of a vehicle.

An optimally designed restraint system with components such as seat belts and airbags for front and side protection are key elements of passive safety. They serve to sustainably reduce injuries to vehicle occupants. In the fields of structural design, occupant safety and partner protection, our test stands, equipped with state-of-the-art computing and recording tools, ensure continuous verification of the current state of development. As a development and testing partner for all major OEMs and suppliers, we have experience in the development and testing of the most diverse types of interior equipment and their impact on passive safety. This enables us to optimise the breadth and depth of testing in a targeted manner.    

To do this, we employ modern simulation methods in order to find an optimum in the coordination of the functions. Bertrandt has a network of more than 250 CAE specialists at its disposal. The results are then verified in tests.

Typical test rigs for occupant safety and partner protection

  • Airbag testing under extreme climatic conditions, such as high and low temperatures
  • Validation of out-of-position constellations
  • Component test stands which simulate an impact with the occupants in the vehicle and determine the risks of injury (FMVSS 201u test stands, linear impactors, head pendulum, drop tower, etc.)
  • Pedestrian safety test stands
  • Sled system for acceleration testing, for example to test seats and interior components and to simulate crash pulses with high accuracy and with maximum variability
  • Low-speed crash system with crash pendulum

Active safety functions, such as emergency braking systems for example, are aimed at avoiding accidents in the first place. Bertrandt has developed the “x-track bus”, a mobile laboratory that can be used to flexibly test active safety functions on any test track and in all kinds of weather conditions. 

The development of more driver assistance systems and the trend towards autonomous driving mean that vehicle safety also has to be further developed. Active and passive safety functions can be better interconnected by means of automatisms. For example, an automatically activated emergency braking procedure can simultaneously provide better control of the restraint system. The restraint system can be deployed earlier and in a way that is less stressful for the occupants. Our mobile testing laboratory has enabled us to further improve validation in the testing of automated driving functions as well as vehicle dynamics and brake systems. 

Typical testing equipment for active safety

  • Cable pull units with articulated pedestrian and cyclist dummies
  • Self-propelled platforms with vehicle dummies
  • Driving robots
  • dGPS systems for the highly accurate location of vehicles
  • Measuring equipment for the qualification of vehicle brakes

What is more, the electrification of vehicles results in a change in the types of risks involved, for example due to the larger batteries in accidents. On the other hand, when electric vehicles are designed from scratch, battery housings that integrate functions can be used to stabilise the structure. In addition, less testing is required because fewer engine variants are used. Instead, the focus is shifted towards the validation of the battery.

As more and more assistance and automation functions are introduced, there will be a further significant increase in the complexity of the vehicles and their testing requirements. The number of test variants will increase exponentially, and this will no longer be manageable by using real tests alone. By contrast, the use of virtual testing methods in completely virtual environments will enable the test depth and test breadth to be further increased, thus sensibly limiting the cost and time required for real testing. Thus, the application of virtual methods increases forecast quality.

Modern vehicles are already equipped with more than 150 ECUs for the engine, steering, brakes, the chassis, passive safety systems, lights and components of the body and the interior. With increasing automation, the level of complexity will rise accordingly.

In addition, increasing numbers of sensors are being used for environmental perception and for control systems. A particular focus is on the risks posed by parallel and intersecting traffic as well as the detection of pedestrian and cyclists. But more and more sensors with an increasingly high resolution generate more and more data. A single driver assistance function can quickly generate a data volume of five petabytes (around five million gigabytes).   

Validating these complex functions and managing the huge amounts of date involved require intelligent testing system environments that interact over several levels.  

The previous instruments of passive safety were based on the fact that the vehicle occupants are always in the same place and are facing in the same direction. However, autonomous cars are creating completely new design possibilities for the interior with undefined seating positions. This is resulting in completely new challenges for occupant safety. Previous restraint systems and airbag functions now have to be adapted. Bertrandt is already involved in the corresponding studies and advance developments for redesigning the protection systems.