NASA just crash-tested a full-size commercial airliner in an attempt to learn more about crash-worthiness of large aircraft. The crash test, which drew a large crowd of spectators, happened at the NASA Langley Research Center’s Landing and Impact Research Facility (LandIR) – also known as “the gantry”. The aircraft used for the test was a Fokker F28 jet, which was dropped into the landing target from a height of approximately 150 feet in the air. The Fokker F28 was outfitted with many state of the art sensors designed to capture as much data as possible from the crash. The Fokker F28 was also painted in a special pattern that made the aircraft look a lot like a black and white spotted leopard. The black spots on the fuselage and wings of the plane were painted on the F28 to assist in determining the damage assocated to each component during the impact with the earth. High-tech cameras outfitted around the research facility are designed to capture many frames of data as the aircraft falls, and the spots assist in determining aircraft crush associated with the crash landing forces. Seated inside the Fokker F28 airliner were many crash test dummies, or more specifically Warrior Injury Assessment Manikin (WIAMan) from the US Army. These specialized crash test dummies are equipped with force sensors that model the impact severities present to the airliner passengers during the crash. The purpose of this crash is to begin to learn about crash worthiness of airliners. The Federal Aviation Administration is in the process of establishing standards for aircraft crash worthiness for large aircraft in an attempt to design safer, more resilient commercial aircraft. Previous crash tests simply dropped aircraft from a vertical position, and this particular impact allowed the aircraft to sail from a sideways position into the crash landing site. The test will allow researchers the ability to define shortcomings in aircraft design so that they can be improved upon, resulting in a much safer aircraft of the future.
-taken from www.sae.org
light are being used to notify pedestrians of automated vehicle travel. It is
well known that automated vehicles are a thing of the future, and that future
is quickly approaching. The streets that have been shared by pedestrians and
vehicles driven by other people will soon be shared with vehicles driven
completely automatically. There are still many obstacles, literally and
figuratively, that must be overcome before driverless cars become a reality.
One of the main hinderances to future development of automated vehicles is the
dangerous or untrustworthy perception held by the public eye. How will
automated vehicles properly indicate to surrounding pedestrians the path that
the vehicle plans to travel? Jaguar Land Rover has developed a system that will
help to inform pedestrians of nearby driverless cars and their planned
behavior. The technology uses a series of light beams that are projected out of
the front of the driverless vehicle and onto the roadway surface. The light
beams run the width of the vehicle and spread apart when the automated vehicle
is traveling faster and move closer together at slower speeds. During
acceleration and braking, the spacing between the light beams changes, to
notify surrounding pedestrians of the vehicle’s planned actions.
Currently, Jaguar Land Rover is developing the technology concurrently while studying the effects of automated vehicles and the “trust” level that pedestrians have around these driverless machines. In order for the automated vehicle technology to launch effectively, pedestrians and the general public must wholeheartedly trust the actions of driverless vehicles. Jaguar Land Rover is studying how to increase this trust level. Current studies show that approximately 41% of pedestrians observing the behavior of automated vehicles are concerned about sharing the roads with robot-controlled machines. The projected light beams are designed to increase the public’s trust of driverless vehicles and will be a key safety feature for automated vehicles moving forward.
-taken from www.sae.org