The objectives of this study are to generate validation data for human models intended for simulation of occupant kinematics in a pre-crash phase, and to evaluate the effect of an integrated safety system on driver kinematics and muscle responses. Eleven male and nine female volunteers, driving a passenger car on ordinary roads, performed maximum voluntary braking; they were also subjected to autonomous braking events with both standard and reversible pre-tensioned restraints. Kinematic data was acquired through film analysis, and surface electromyography (EMG) was recorded bilaterally for muscles in the neck, the upper extremities, and lumbar region. Maximum voluntary contractions (MVCs) were carried out in a driving posture for normalization of the EMG. Seat belt positions, interaction forces, and seat indentions were measured. During normal driving, all muscle activity was below 5% of MVC for females and 9% for males. The range of activity during steady state braking for males and females was 13-44% in the cervical and lumbar extensors, while antagonistic muscles showed a co-contraction of 2.3-19%. Seat belt pre-tension affects both the kinematic and muscle responses of drivers. In autonomous braking with standard restraints, muscle activation occurred in response to the inertial load. With pre-tensioned seat belts, EMG onset occurred earlier; between 71 ms and 176 ms after belt pre-tension. The EMG onset times decreased with repeated trials and were shorter for females than for males. With the results from this study, further improvement and validation of human models that incorporate active musculature will be made possible.
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