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Research Program

Project Objective: Develop the technical bases for the specification of vehicle performance requirements which will lead to the elimination of fatalities and reduce the severity of the injuries resulting from aggressive air bag deployment to children and adults and to infants in rear facing child safety seats, and simultaneously optimizing the benefits to normally seated restrained occupants while also restoring the full protection for unbelted adults in high severity crashes. These requirements will be established using the state-of-the-art developments of advanced air bag technology.

Air Bag Technology in Light Passenger Vehicles  (663KB) 01/06/2000

In December 1997, NHTSA sent an information request to nine automobile manufacturers requesting detailed technical information on the current industry practice on air bag technologies, and how air bag design and performance characteristics had evolved through the 1990's. The manufacturers provided the agency with the requested data, much of which was proprietary and confidential. This report uses those data, as well as other available information, to illustrate the general trends in air bag design and performance characteristics.

Supplement: Development of Injury Criteria for the Assessment of Advanced Automotive Restraint Systems - II  (113KB)

In the SNPRM on advanced air bags, NHTSA proposed a comprehensive set of injury criteria for evaluating the potential for injury to the head, neck, chest and lower extremities for the various dummy sizes, ranging from the 1-year-old child to the 50th percentile male. This supplemental technical paper summarizes the comments received related to injury criteria, provides the agency's responses to the comments, and discusses the various performance limits implemented in the final rule.

(208 Final Rule Docket: NHTSA-00-7013)

Updated Review of Potential Test Procedures for FMVSS No. 208  (635kb)

"This is an update to the September 19, 1998, report that was written to examine several potential frontal crash test procedures, and evaluate how well each candidate frontal test procedure meets the objective for a potential upgrade of FMVSS No. 208. Specifically, the updated report evaluates (1) the full frontal fixed barrier test, (2) the oblique frontal fixed barrier test, (3) the generic sled test, (4) the frontal fixed offset deformable barrier test, (5) the perpendicular moving deformable barrier (MDB) test, (6) the oblique moving deformable barrier test and (7) the full frontal fixed deformable barrier (FFFDB) test. Each procedure is compared with the 48 kph fixed rigid barrier test and the generic sled test currently prescribed in FMVSS No. 208."

Review of Potential Test Procedures for FMVSS No. 208 - September 19, 1998

High Speed Unbelted Test Requirement of FMVSS No. 208

Analysis of Issues Raised by Public Comments - May 5, 2000
In the FMVSS No. 208 SNPRM on Advanced Air Bags, NHTSA proposed a range of test requirements for evaluating unbelted occupant protection in high speed crashes. This technical report analyzes various issues raised by public comment.

Advanced Air Bag Technology Assessment - NHTSA/NASA Cooperative Research Program
Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL) Final Report
This work was conducted under a memorandum of understanding (MOU) between NHTSA and the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA). NASA/JPL was to "evaluate air bag performance, establish the technological potential for improved (smart) air bag systems, and identify key expertise and technology within the agency (NASA) that can potentially contribute significantly to the improved effectiveness of air bags."
Study to Identify “Advanced Air Bag Designs” and Their Production Feasibility
Management Engineering Associates (MEA) Final Report
This document is the final report of the survey to assess the readiness of advanced restraint system technologies conducted by MEA under contract to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Search for docket number 2814 at the DOT DMS web site (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-31).
Crash Test Data of 1999/2000 Model Year Vehicles
The agency has conducted a series of crash tests of 1999/2000 model year vehicles. Electronic data is available, as well as videos of the high speed films and test reports.
Rigid Barrier Crash Test Data of 1998 Model Year Vehicles
The agency has conducted a series of rigid barrier crash tests of 1998 model year vehicles. Electronic data is available, as well as videos of the high speed films and test reports.
Static Out-of-Position Tests of 1999 Model Year Vehicles
The agency has conducted a series of static out-of-position tests using the small female dummy on the driver's side and the 6-year-old child dummy on the passenger's side in 1999 Model Year Vehicles.
Static Out-of-Position Tests of 1998 Model Year Vehicles and Comparisons to Previous Model Years
The agency has conducted a series of static out-of-position tests using the small female dummy and the 6-year-old child dummy in 1998 Model Year Vehicles. Comparative tests were conducted with previous model year vehicles.
Sled Test Data using the 95th Percentile Adult Male Hybrid III
The agency has conducted a series of unbelted sled tests using the 95th percentile male dummy to determine whether the MY98/99 redesigned air bags performed as well as the pre-MY98 air bags. Two sled bucks were used representing a Chevrolet Venture minivan and a Buick Century, equipped with either MY 1997 or MY 1999 redesigned air bags. Electronic data and high speed films are available for these tests.
Advanced Air Bag Inflator and Crash Sensor Testing
Through a cooperative research effort of the MVSRAC Advanced Air Bag Technology Working Group, the agency has conducted a series of static out-of-position tests, dynamic sled tests, and a full scale vehicle crash test using advanced multi-stage air bag inflator and crash sensing technology. Different sized adult and child dummies were utilized in this testing.

FY98-99 Cooperative Research Program with Transport Canada
NHTSA conducted a cooperative research program with Transport Canada to evaluate redesigned air bag performance for small and large occupants and to develop new frontal impact crash test procedures. The crash test data collected from this program are provided under the following sub-program headings:

FY97-98 Cooperative Research Program with Transport Canada
NHTSA conducted a cooperative research program with Transport Canada to assess air bag performance on the 5th percentile female Hybrid III crash test dummy, to evaluate depowered air bag performance, and to develop new frontal impact crash test procedures. The crash test data collected from this program are provided under the following sub-program headings:

Aggressivity Testing of the Holden Commodore Air Bag System
Through a cooperative research effort with the Australian Federal Office of Road Safety, the agency has conducted a series of static out-of-position tests using small female and child dummies to evaluate the aggressiveness of the Holden Commodore driver and passenger air bag systems. A 48 kmph frontal rigid barrier crash test was also conducted with two unbelted adult male dummies in a VS Holden Commodore vehicle.

Example Suppression (Presence) Test Positions with Child Dummies
The agency has conducted a series of static air bag suppression (presence) test positions using child dummies. Electronic files of the photographs are available for viewing and downloading

Out-of-Position Occupant Testing - NHTSA/UVA Cooperative Research Program
University of Virginia (UVA) Final Report
This report evaluates the relationship between air bag inflation and occupant injury and response for a model year 1998 air bag. The driver-side air bags were deployed into the chest of a 5th percentile female Hybrid III dummy positioned against the cover of the air bag module, according to the ISO-2 standard.
MVSRAC Advanced Air Bag Technology Working Group
The agency has initiated the establishment of the Advanced air bag Technology Working Group under the Crashworthiness Subcommittee of the Motor Vehicle Safety Research Advisory Committee. The purpose of this working group is to perform research and to compile information regarding advanced air bag technology. The following lists the meetings held to date and the handouts from the meetings. Search for docket number 2814 at the DOT dockets web site.
Meeting #1: April 24, 1997 (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-24)
Meeting #2: 23,May 1997 (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-24)
Meeting #3: June 24, 1997 (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-27)
Meeting #4: August 21, 1997 (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-36)
Meeting #5: December 16, 1997 (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-29)
Meeting #6: January 15, 1998 (NHTSA Docket #: NHTSA-1997-2814-37)