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Advanced Protection Systems

The general objective of APROSYS is the development and introduction of critical technologies that will improve passive safety for all European road users in all relevant accident types and severities.

Tags: Road


The European Union is the largest car producing area in the world and has the largest car market. Research and technological development (R&TD) is essential for improving the impact motor vehicles have on our society and safety is one of the key issues in this respect. In the European Union, there are more than 40 000 reported deaths and 1.3 millions casualties as a result of road traffic accidents each year. The annual costs to the European Society due to these accidents are more than € 160 billion, which is twice the entire budget of the European Union. Significant growth in the demand for transport of people and goods is foreseen for the next decade: compared to 1998, experts predict that there will be an increase in passenger kilometres of 24% and in the transport of goods of 38% in the European Union by 2010.

The risk of being fatally injured varies significantly per road-user class. For car occupants, this is 0.8 fatalities per 100 million kms travelled, for pedestrians and cyclists about nine times higher (respectively 7.5 and 6.3 fatalities per 100 million kms) and for motorcyclists even 20 times higher.

More detailed accident data indicate that within the above classes of road users the following accident types are of particular importance (with the highest injury reduction potential):

  • Car-to-car front and side impacts, including impacts with infrastructure (taking into account compatibility issues)
  • Cars to trucks
  • Pedestrians and cyclists impacted by the front of a car
  • Pedestrian and cyclists impacted by trucks
  • Motor cycle accidents with cars and with infrastructure.


  • Development of new injury criteria and injury tolerance values for injuries with high societal relevance, including head and lower leg injuries, and injuries to children and the elderly.
  • Development of new mathematical models of the human body for both the crash and pre-crash phase accounting for arbitrary body sizes.
  • Development of a new worldwide-harmonised, mechanical model of the human body or crash dummy for representation of a small female car occupant in side impact collisions (prototype).
  • Development of knowledge and tools enabling the design, implementation and evaluation of intelligent safety systems, with special emphasis on new sensor and actuator technologies, and generic test methods for the evaluation of pre-crash sensing-based systems.
  • Enhancement of virtual testing (numerical simulation) technology for the design and evaluation of crash protection methods with special emphasis on reliability, efficiency, representation of real world accident conditions and implementation in a regulatory environment.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and development of advanced protection systems for injury reduction of pedestrians and bicyclists impacted by the front of passenger cars, with special emphasis on injuries to children and the elderly. Both the primary impact and the secondary impact will be studied.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and development of advanced protection systems, including compatibility strategies for injury reduction of car occupants for the most relevant car-to-car accident types, those of front and side impacts.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and the development of advanced protection systems for injury reduction in the most relevant type of accidents involving heavy trucks: 1) accidents involving vulnerable road users and 2) passenger cars striking the side of a truck.
  • Development and validation of evaluation methods and advanced protection systems for the reduction of the number and the severity of injuries to motor cyclists (test procedure for motorcycles against road infrastructure).

Description of work

To reach the general objective, the Integrated Project (IP) partners clearly realise that not all the possible and required work can be performed within this project. Therefore the emphasis is placed on the issues with the greatest fatalities/injuries reduction potential, as well as on issues not tackled by previous, current or already planned research activities.

Four sub-projects are related to accident scenarios, e.g. cars, trucks, pedestrians and cyclists, and motorcyclists. Four other sub-projects are related to technologies, e.g. biomechanics, advanced safety systems, virtual testing and accident analysis.


The benefit of the results or the research carried out in APROSYS will only become visible to a small extent before 2010. Much more will be introduced after 2010 and this is due to 1) the pre-competitive nature of the research proposed here and 2) the long lead-time which is typical for the introduction of new systems in the automotive market. Accordingly, the impact of this IP can be largely expected in the period after 2010. Forecasting the contribution of this RTD project to the casualty reduction in a period ten years ahead is a rather difficult and imprecise process. Estimates provided in the APROSYS proposal on a sub-project level, as well as data on the effect of passive safety measures realised in the past, led to the following figures: at least a reduction of 1 000 fatalities per year in the period 2010-2020 and at least a ten-times higher contribution to a reduction in other casualties. The largest effects are predicted for frontal impacts, namely a 50% fatality reduction due to new passive safety measures. This is due to, among others, to compatibility measures and the large-scale introduction of intelligent safety systems. For side impacts, a fatality reduction due to passive safety measures of 40% is predicted and for motorcycles and pedestrians, 25% and 30% respectively.