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Posture and belt fit in reclined passenger seats

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journal contribution
posted on 13.08.2019 by Matthew P. Reed, Sheila M. Ebert, Monica L. H. Jones

Objective: Highly reclined postures may be common among passengers in future automated vehicles. A laboratory study was conducted to address the need for posture and belt fit in these seating configurations.

Methods: In a laboratory vehicle mockup, the postures of 24 men and women with a wide range of body size were measured in a typical front vehicle seat at seat back angles of 23°, 33°, 43°, and 53°. Data were gathered with and without a sitter-adjusted headrest. Posture was characterized by the locations of skeletal joint centers estimated from digitized surface landmarks.

Results: Regression analysis demonstrated that the pelvis rotated rearward and lumbar spine flexion decreased with increasing recline. The lap portion of the 3-point belt was more rearward relative to the pelvis in more-reclined postures, and the torso portion crossed the clavicle closer to the midline of the body. Regression equations were developed to predict posture and belt fit variables as a function of passenger characteristics, seat back angle, and the use of the headrest.

Conclusions: Spine posture changes as the torso reclines in an automotive seat, and belt fit is altered by the change in posture. The results can be used to accurately position crash test dummies and computation human models and to guide the design of belt restraints.

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