Chalmers model flexes for the Swedish automotive industry

​The research results have resulted in a world-wide mathematical human model that can predict human movement before crash. For example, how a person, when the car is braking, counteracts throwing forward in the car by tightening the muscles. Such a model is gaining importance now that more car manufacturers seem to go more and more towards autonomous cars. Autonomous cars and features are designed by an engineer who needs an answer if the car responds in a good or bad way based on how the driver acts. The model is called SAFER A-HBM.
​"It can be about how much the car should turn and brake when the airbag is to be released and more. If you do not have any tools to evaluate if a protection system is good or bad, it simply becomes very difficult to design. Therefore, our model is an important tool”, says Karin Brolin. Karin Brolin is Professor at Chalmers and one of the researchers who worked in the research team that developed the model. She was recruited to Chalmers 2009 to drive and develop human modeling at Chalmers and SAFER. Recruitment was based on a need that the industry saw. One of the projects she started working with was A-HBM, an abbreviation of Active Human Models.

"The project would have the human models that existed for crash simulations to simulate muscle activity in living people. This to use them to simulate what happens to the human body and muscles before a crash", says Karin Brolin.

Bengt Pipkorn is the Director of Simulation and Active Structures at Autoliv Research and confirms that the model is an important tool with great benefit to Autoliv.

"Through the model, we have had new collaborative projects with both new and old customers. New ideas for improvements to existing products have been presented, we have been able to hire more people who will help the development of new products with the help of the tool. In addition, the Swedish automotive industry with its subcontractors is alone in having this unique tool, which gives competitive advantages to competitors in Europe and the rest of the world”, says Bengt Pipkorn.

Lotta Jakobsson, senior technical leader in Injury prevention, part of the Volvo Cars Safety Center says that it meant that the different parties could focus on what each one is best at.

"For us, it has meant that we can focus on our business's primary objective of developing safe cars. This is thanks to the great support we have received through Chalmers strong commitment", says Lotta Jakobsson.
The project has also required the development of numerical methods to be combined with experimental activities to create validation data for SAFER A-HBM. Therefore, several experiments to measure muscle activity of drivers and passengers in cars that have been braked and pivoted have been carried out by the project's PhD Students led by Associate Professor Johan Davidsson in close cooperation with the industrial partners.

Collaboration with industry has been very important for the success of the project, says Karin Brolin. From the start, Chalmers has had meetings with industry once a month. During these work meetings, participants have discussed problems and possible solutions and given feedback on each other's activities in the project, which has continually pushed the project forward.

"With the feedback we received from industry, we have known what works and what does not work. It has not only enabled us to quickly get the model to the industry where it makes practical use, we have also gained new research ideas and made us the first in the world with this type of model", says Karin Brolin.

The A-HBM project has been completed in several stages and is a SAFER project funded by Vinnova and FFI.

Published: Fri 22 Sep 2017.