Improvement of Compatibility of Passenger Vehicles~Next feasible steps
Published May 19, 2003 by National Highway Traffic Safety Administration in United States
Compatibility has been a research issue for more than three decades now. To improve vehicle safety two viewpoints have to be considered: Self-protection, the ability of a vehicle to protect its own occupants, both in vehicle-to-vehicle accidents and against other objects in the traffic environment; and Partner-protection, the ability of a vehicle to protect the occupants of the opponent vehicle in vehicle- to-vehicle crashes.
Compatibility aims to ensure a compromise between self-protection and partner-protection. Partner-protection is often referred to as low aggressiveness towards other traffic participants. It has gained more importance recently due to significant improvements in primary and secondary safety.
The first goal remains to prevent accidents by measures of primary safety. Significant improvements have already been achieved in the last few years. Electronic Stability Program (ESP), for example, has a significant influence, particularly in the reduction of single vehicle accidents. It will be much more difficult to prevent vehicle-to-vehicle collisions by primary safety measures.
The Compatibility of a vehicle is understood as a combination of self- and partner protection in such a way that optimum overall safety is achieved. This means: Compatibility tries to minimize the number of fatalities and/or injuries, regardless of the vehicle in which the injuries or fatalities occur. Additionally, customers expect further improvements in the self-protection level. It will not be acceptable to compromise today's self-protection level.
To investigate compatibility in a single case, it is possible to crash two vehicles against each other and evaluate the injury values and deformations in both vehicles. In the real accident world, infinite vehicle combinations are possible. It is not possible to test all these combinations. This shows that it is difficult to gain compatibility evaluations by vehicle-to-vehicle crashes. Rather it is necessary to define a meaningful vehicle-to-barrier test.