Volume 9, Number 4, p.p. 155–160
Computational modelling and simulations for pregnant occupant safety
B.S. Acar* and V. Esat
Department of Computer Science, Loughborough University, Leicestershire, LE11 3TU, UK
Motor vehicle collisions are the leading cause of accidental death worldwide. Seatbelts save lives, however there is a need for improved automotive seatbelt protection for people who have difficulties in keeping the traditional seatbelt in its intended position. Pregnant women are perfect examples of this group of people and present a particular challenge for automobile manufacturers. The safety of occupants and their risk of injury in automobile accidents are typically assessed using anthropometric test devices (ATDs), together with real-world crash data and experimental work with cadavers or human volunteers. In the case of pregnant women, ATDs are limited and tests with pregnant volunteers or cadavers are not viable. On the other hand, computer modelling and simulations offer an inexpensive solution with computational human body models enabling a greater level of anatomical detail, potentially offering a response more faithful to the biological situation than ATDs. A series of projects have been undertaken at Loughborough University to improve the safety of pregnant occupants by developing guidelines and products based on biomechanics research, modelling and simulations. In this paper research for the computational pregnant occupant model “Expecting” and simulations with it are explained, and some emerging results to improve the safety of pregnant women are presented.