Research In Action

Research In Action

The Importance and Evolution of Integrated Safety Systems in Motor Vehicles
December 5, 2016

I recently returned from Plymouth, Michigan and another successful and engaging Advances in Child Injury Prevention (ACIP) Conference. Hosted annually by the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies (CChIPS), the conference brings the latest research in traffic safety for children and youth to professionals in child occupant safety, industry, government, and organizations involved in research and development, product design, and safety policy and regulation.

This year, we were fortunate to have Tony Gioutsos, Director of Sales and Marketing in the Americas for TASS International, as our keynote speaker. Mr. Gioutsos’ talk focused on Integrated Safety, which addresses the impact that active safety systems (including automated and connected cars) have on passive safety system total performance. Mr. Gioutsos is well-positioned to offer his perspective, given his previous work on passive safety algorithm design and testing that led him to start the first automotive algorithm company in 1994 and his time serving as Director of Electronics R&D for both Takata and Breed Technologies. I asked Mr. Gioutsos if he would share with our Research in Action audience some of the main points from his keynote address at ACIP:

Can you give us an example of integrated safety?

Tony Gioutsos (TG): A perfect example of integrated safety is an Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) system. Many times the AEB will slow the vehicle down before an impact but cannot stop the vehicle completely. When this happens, a crash still occurs. How does the passive safety system perform in these cases? Can the two systems (active and passive) be “integrated” to perform better in these situations? My goal is to continually improve the integration of these systems to increase total safety performance.

How do you define “Due Care,” and why is it an important consideration in this context?
TG: Due Care is when a company conducts tests in a range of comprehensive test conditions, above and beyond the requirements of regulation, to ensure the safety of their products. It is of utmost concern to any automotive safety engineer, and it is the reason we do countless full vehicle tests, sled tests and simulations in the passive arena. Similarly, in the active safety arena, we need to account for an infinite number of deterministic scenarios–which consider the impact of specific predictable risks–and random scenarios. Driving millions of miles, using advanced test tracks, but most importantly using simulation (both deterministic and random) can make the job of attaining Due Care possible.

How do you develop an integrated system, using a Due Care framework, through simulations and testing?
TG: The key is to use simulation. It is basically impossible to do it solely with field tests and extremely difficult with sleds or test tracks alone. Therefore, a simulation tool or tools must be used to analyze the safety chain. With the appropriate tools, a simulation tying the passive and active safety systems together can be varied endlessly to reduce the uncertainty in the system, giving a confidence that Due Care has been achieved.

Because there are so many variables, not all of which can be defined or predicted, how are these integrated systems validated? Can they be validated?
TG: Again, this can only be done via simulation with some “edge” cases retested in hardware/sled/test track scenarios. These are cases that produce non-desirable outcomes or show uncertainty or variability in the results. Simulation to validate systems is now being accepted by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and Food and Drug Administration (FDA). It is only a matter of time before simulation results are considered essential to safety performance evaluation for the automotive industry.

How does integrated safety fit into the larger discussion about the development of active and passive safety systems and automated vehicles?
TG: Currently so much work is being done on active safety for autonomous vehicles that integrated safety has taken a back burner. However, as active safety system implementation continues to grow and expand, real-world cases will begin to show the need for integrated safety.

What are the next steps in the advancement of integrated safety?
TG: I think what we will see are some cases in the real world that cause the industry to take another comprehensive look at vehicle safety. This is not unlike the time in the early 1990’s when passenger air bags were first being put into vehicles and because of slow algorithm firing times and fast air bag inflators, children seated in the front seat became susceptible.

I would like to thank Mr. Gioutsos for sharing his perspective on integrated safety, both at ACIP and here in our blog.

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