Kinetic Cockpit Design May Reduce Injuries in a Side Pole Impact
A little over two years ago I published an idea for a kinetic, rotational cockpit design that strived to decrease the stress forces of a collision by converting the translational kinetic energy into rotational KE — read here.
The design and calculations from the article were reviewed by two engineers. It was also published on Linkedin and was open for discussion and critique.
I will now be showing the revised version of the idea. This time, it is meant to improve side pole impact protection, while maintaining the capabilities of the original design for frontal impacts.
Before doing so, I would briefly talk about the existing problem in the auto industry and why this design matters.
How does a side impact with a pole occur?
Some side impacts involve a vehicle traveling or sliding sideways into a rigid roadside object, such as a tree or a pole. Read more on EuroNCAP’s website.
The problem in the auto industry
Below you can see a side pole impact crash test done on a 2016 Volvo SUV. While bumpers, crumple zones, airbags, and seatbelts protect the occupants from frontal impacts in conventional cars, there is little room and technology in place for side impact protection, especially when the impact is with a rigid object with a small surface area, like an electric/traffic light post, a tree or a metal pole (and no, side curtain airbags do not offer much protection).