THE IMPACT OF SAFETY STANDARDS AND POLICIES ON OPTIMAL AUTOMOBILE DESIGN
DS 68-5: Proceedings of the 18th International Conference on Engineering Design (ICED 11), Impacting Society through Engineering Design, Vol. 5: Design for X / Design to X, Lyngby/Copenhagen, Denmark, 15.-19.08.2011
Editor: Culley, S.J.; Hicks, B.J.; McAloone, T.C.; Howard, T.J. & Malmqvist, J.
Author: Hoffenson, Steven; Papalambros, Panos Y.
Section: Design for X, Design to X
Much of the recent decline in road traffic injuries and fatalities is attributed to regulations imposed by governments and crash test ratings produced by public and private institutions. These crash tests aim to provide a standardized method for crashworthiness comparisons between vehicles, and they do so using prescribed crash scenarios that purportedly represent real-world crashes. Because the results of these tests are made public and influence consumer demand, automakers commonly optimize their vehicle designs specifically to perform well in these crash scenarios. This study explores the impact of three particular specifications of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration New Car Assessment Program frontal crash test on optimal automobile design, including the test speed, the injury severity, and the ratings system used to present the results. Optimal vehicle designs for the original crash test are compared with those of alternative test scenarios, and the impact of such designs is discussed. Findings show that scenarios representative of more frequently-occurring on-road crashes appear to produce safer vehicles, and a more precise ratings system is recommended.
Keywords: SAFETY STANDARDS; AUTOMOBILE SAFETY; AUTOMOBILE DESIGN OPTIMISATION