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UK University of Hertfordshire Designs Cost Effective Car Safety Features

03 June 2005

Engineers at the University of Hertfordshire have found a way to comply with car safety regulations almost 10 times faster than traditional methods.

About 9,000 pedestrian and cyclists die every year on roads in the EU, and 200,000 are seriously injured. As a result of these statistics new European legislation (EuroNCAP) for pedestrian safety has been introduced and has set considerable challenges for car manufacturers in the design of cars, especially bonnets and bumpers.

Dr William Tiu from the University’s School of Aerospace, Automotive & Design Engineering has developed software which will allow car manufacturers to meet pedestrian impact requirements in approximately 20 minutes as opposed to the normal time of close to three hours.

The software, PEDMARKER, which has been sold to Nissan, UK and Japan, and is according to Dr Tiu the first of its kind, allows car manufacturers to mark out a grid area at the front of the car so that maximum pedestrian safety features can be incorporated into the design while the car is being modelled and so that it complies with EuroNCAP and the Japanese NCAP requirements.

When asked about how this may affect the design of composite parts, Dr Tiu said that the composite manufacturer can use the information to tailor the shape and stiffness of the composite components to minimise injury levels for pedestrians. Any required changes in section profiles can be quickly incorporated in the design loop.

Dr Tiu comments: “This new software helps car manufacturers to look at potential problems early in terms of safety and engine distance from the surface, so that time can be saved later on. Our software greatly reduces the time taken to carry out the marking procedure. The fact that the software has been bought by a major Japanese Car Manufacturer such as Nissan is a ‘big plus’ for the University’s external reputation.

He has also developed an animation software which incorporates a photorealistic rendering facility. This can be used to visually enhance the normal crash simulation output from MADYMO for use in accident reconstructions.






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