Simulation of hip joint location for occupant packaging design
DHM tools have been widely used to analyze and improve vehicle occupant packaging and interior design in the automotive industry. However, these tools still present some limitations for this application. Accurately characterizing seated posture is crucial for ergonomic and safety evaluations. Current human posture and motion predictions in DHM tools are not accurate enough for the precise nature of vehicle interior design, typically requiring manual adjustments from DHM users to get more accurate driving and passenger simulations. Manual adjustment processes can be time-consuming, tedious, and subjective, easily causing non-repeatable simulation results. These limitations create the need to validate the simulation results with real-world studies, which increases the cost and time in the vehicle development process. Working with multiple Swedish automotive companies, we have begun to identify and specify the limitations of DHM tools relating to driver and passenger posture predictions given predefined vehicle geometry points/coordinates and specific human body parts relationships. Two general issues frame the core limitations. First, human kinematic models used in DHM tools are based on biomechanics models that do not provide definitions of these models in relation to vehicle geometries. Second, vehicle designers follow standards and regulations to obtain key human reference points in seated occupant locations. However, these reference points can fail to capture the range of human variability. This paper describes the relationship between a seated reference point and a biomechanical hip joint for driving simulations. The lack of standardized connection between occupant packaging guidelines and the biomechanical knowledge of humans creates a limitation for ergonomics designers and DHM users. We assess previous studies addressing hip joint estimation from different fields to establish the key aspects that might affect the relationship between standard vehicle geometry points and the hip joint. Then we suggest a procedure for standardizing points in human models within DHM tools. A better understanding of this problem may contribute to achieving closer to reality driving posture simulations and facilitating communication of ergonomics requirements to the design team within the product development process.