A Human Body Model With Active Muscles for Simulation of Pretensioned Restraints in Autonomous Braking Interventions
Objective: The aim of this work is to study driver and passenger kinematics in autonomous braking scenarios, with and without pretensioned seat belts, using a whole-body finite element (FE) human body model (HBM) with active muscles.
Methods: Upper extremity musculature for elbow and shoulder flexion–extension feedback control was added to an HBM that was previously complemented with feedback controlled muscles for the trunk and neck. Controller gains were found using a radial basis function metamodel sampled by making 144 simulations of an 8 ms−2 volunteer sled test. The HBM kinematics, interaction forces, and muscle activations were validated using a second volunteer data set for the passenger and driver positions, with and without 170 N seat belt pretension, in 11 ms−2 autonomous braking deceleration. The HBM was then used for a parameter study in which seat belt pretension force and timing were varied from 170 to 570 N and from 0.25 s before to 0.15 s after deceleration onset, in an 11 ms−2 autonomous braking scenario.
Results: The model validation showed that the forward displacements and interaction forces of the HBM correlated with those of corresponding volunteer tests. Muscle activations and head rotation angles were overestimated in the HBM when compared with volunteer data. With a standard seat belt in 11 ms−2 autonomous braking interventions, the HBM exhibited peak forward head displacements of 153 and 232 mm for the driver and passenger positions. When 570 N seat belt pretension was applied 0.15 s before deceleration onset, a reduction of peak head displacements to 60 and 75 mm was predicted.
Conclusions: Driver and passenger responses to autonomous braking with standard and pretensioned restraints were successfully modeled in a whole-body FE HBM with feedback controlled active muscles. Variations of belt pretension force level and timing revealed that belt pretension 0.15 s before deceleration onset had the largest effect in reducing forward head and torso movement caused by the autonomous brake intervention. The displacement of the head relative to the torso for the HBM is quite constant for all variations in timing and belt force; it is the reduced torso displacements that lead to reduced forward head displacements.