Vehicle Restraint System Development

Henk Helleman has worked on a great number of vehicles. Some were more memorable than others. Below is an overview of those that stuck. Some, because a new technology was introduced, some because they were a personal first.
[ Fiat Tipo 2/3 ]

Fiat Tipo 2/3

Henk trained the Fiat engineers in the use of MADYMO and helped them set up their first models for restraint systems performance evaluation. These models were subsequently used by the restraints system supplier (Breed Technologies) during development and for production quality control, there after.
[ Hyundai Elantra J1 ]

Hyundai Elantra and Accent

Henk Trained the Hyundai engineers in the use of MADYMO and helped them set up restraint system performance models. [ Hyundai Accent X3 ] During several extended stays in Korea, engineering support was provided to develop the restraint systems for the Elantra and Accent models. The vehicles were prepared for European and US certification, which included preparing for the European side impact regulations that were then under development.
[ Bugatti EB110SS ]

Bugatti EB110 Super Sport

Certifying a vehicle for the US market involves a lot of development and testing. The EB110 program could not afford all the prototypes normally needed during development testing. By using existing airbag systems and making extensive use of simulation analysis, much time and money was saved. Henk built the accurate simulation models and conducted the performance optimization of the restraint system. Still, two of them ended up being crashed into the concrete barrier...
[ Volvo SCC ]

Volvo SCC

We worked on this one in 1994, but had to keep it under wraps for almost 10 years as this was Volvo's test bed for possible future safety technology. The vehicle was finally revealed, as a concept, in 2002. The car has a highly adjustable steering column and adjustable pedals to create a comfortable and safe seating position for short and tall drivers. Very little obscures the all-around visibility and there is a cowl airbag to catch the unfortunate pedestrian who gets hit by the car. Only so much has been revealed about this vehicle, so we still won't give out the details as some of the safety technologies researched have yet to be disclosed and implemented on production vehicles. Using simulation analysis allowed for many concepts to be investigated without the need to build and test prototypes.
[ Ford of Australia EA77 Falcon ]

Ford of Australia Falcon

The 3-abreast front seated Falcon had a unique passenger airbag that provided head impact protection for the middle occupant. The resulting large airbag required careful deployment. Simulation analysis was used to gauge the inflator limits that could safety deploy the airbag under hot and cold conditions and assure timely seating.

Fiat Tipo/C

[ Fiat Tipo/C ] The integration of the restraint system for the Fiat Tipo/C was managed from the Breed UK office, but the component development and testing was done in the US. The development fell in the period that airbag inflators were switching from Azide based propellants to new generants that were more environmentally friendly. So we got to do the performance engineering twice and simulation analysis helped greatly to shorten the development time. Henk worked in close cooperation with the inflator development engineers to find a matching performance for the new generants. After a rather embarrassing consumer test, the platform also became the test bed for alternative venting methods, using a permeable patch of fabric rather than discrete vent holes. When the project was finished we knew more about fabric venting properties than the supplier.
[ Hyundai HP1 Santa-Fe ]

Hyundai Santa-Fe

Working off the Hyundai Galloper as the Mule vehicle, detailed simulation models were developed and validated in support of the developent of the total safety system of the Hyundai HP1 Santa-Fe, for which the restraints supplier, Breed Technologies, had taken systems responsibility.
[ Jaguar XK8 ]

Jaguar XK8

"Watch out for the suspension being a little sloppy on these test vehicles", said the Jaguar program manager as he handed over the keys. Strictly speaking we didn't need to drive the cars for the development of the Occupant Spatial Sensor System, but we found a reason after all. We needed to test the system under driving conditions when the wind would possibly interfere with performance of the system. Road testing was much cheaper and more practical than wind tunnel testing, so there we went. ;-)
[ BMW E46 ]

BMW 3-Series

The driver airbag of the BMW E46 was one of the first to have a dual-stage inflator. It served as an example for many airbags that followed. The bag was modeled in great detail with computational fluid dynamics being used to assess the injury risk to closely seated occupants. This allowed for balancing the output of the first and second stages prior to hardware being available for testing.

Ford Freestyle

[ Ford Freestyle ] For the Ford Freestyle roll-over sensors and side curtains were developed to better protect the occupants in Roll-Over accidents. Simulation analysis was used to provide "gap-closure" timing, which tells how much time there is to get the side curtain between the occupant and the window. Simulation analysis was also used to provide input for the sensor development engineers to tell the difference between sporty driving and a roll-over accident that would require the side curtain to be deployed. Roll-over testing was still in its infancy with various test protocols being evaluated, such as the "curb-trip", the "cork-screw", and the "dolly test" (FMVSS 208).
[ Ford C3XX ]

Ford Galaxy

The side curtain of the Ford Galaxy was evaluated against the newly proposed (NPRM 214) Dynamic Oblique Pole Test. How much energy must be absorbed if the pole is aimed straight at the driver's head? How quickly must the curtain deploy. Computational Fluid Dynamics was used to find better ways to fill the side curtain in the shortest amount of time.
[ GM Epsilon II ]

GM Epsilon II

The GM Epsilon is a global platform that forms the basis for (amongst others) the Saab 93 and 95, the Opel Insignia and Vectra, the Saturn Aura, the Cadillac BLS, Chevy Malibu, and Pontiac G6. With such a large volume it is the focus for many innovative, cost saving technologies.
We'll let you know in a few years what we did towards that!

[ Proton Persona ] [ Hyundai Galloper ] [ GM W-Body ] [ Honda Accord ] [ Ford Explorer ] [ Honda Civic ] [ Dodge Ram ] [ Chevy Tahoe ] [ Ford Escort ] [ Dodge Caravan ] [Lincoln MKX] [LX 300] [ Honda Pilot ] [ Toyota Sienna ] [ Honda Element ]

That isn't all of them. There are a few more, but like the Volvo SCC before, they'll have to wait a little until their technologies are revealed to the general public. Rest assured there is more innovation in the pipe-line. We'll continue to try to make airbags smarter and seat-belts more effective. There are other parts of the human body to protect and other types of crashes to protect for. Then we'll look into protecting humans rather than crash test dummies. Then we'll work on preventing accidents altogether...


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