Project: EU PRISM: Proposed Reduction of Car Crash Injuries Through Improved Smart Restraint Development Technologies

Reference: S0223/VF & S0231/VF

Last update: 08/03/2006 13:12:31


The project objectives are:

* to review existing European accident data and current 'state of art' smart technologies and assess the potential effects of smart restraints on European accident statistics;
* to obtain European statistical data regarding the actual locations of occupants within vehicles, to allow determination of realistic worst case occupant 'event start positions' for impact events;
* to investigate the effects of pre-impact occupant kinematics, (for example under pre-impact braking) to determine occupant impact 'start' positions;
* to identify impact conditions and pre-crash occupant positions worthy of detailed study and to evaluate the issues and likely effects of smart restraints on those accident types;
* to identify, create and use computer models that allow the effective evaluation of restraint systems in such accident conditions; and
* to generate standard guidelines to define and evaluate the functional requirements of smart restraints.


Demands for increased levels of vehicle occupant safety require the development of improved restraint systems which offer higher levels of protection during road vehicle impacts. Traditionally, restraint systems, such as seat belts and airbags, have been tested either in conjunction with, or independent from, the vehicle using a limited range of occupant or crash conditions. Inevitably, this has this has led to systems which are optimised for an 'average' occupant or an 'average' impact. In reality, accidents cover a much broader spectrum of impact and occupant characteristics, so a major challenge in the future development of the automobile is to develop systems that protect the more vulnerable occupants to a greater level than is the current practice, and over a greater range of crash conditions. 'Smart' restraint systems are occupant restraint systems that achieve this by automatically adjusting to the crash conditions. The restraint system is any component, device or system that influences the kinematics of, and loads upon the occupant during a vehicle crash.

The PRISM project is an EC 5th Framework programme project, the overall objective of which is to reduce occupant injuries by developing tools which will assist European restraint and vehicle manufacturers to develop effective smart restraint systems in a cost-efficient manner.


Watling Street, Nuneaton, Warwickshire, CV10 0TU
+44 (0)2476 355000

TRL Limited
Crowthorne House, Nine Mile Ride, Wokingham, Berkshire, RG40 3GA
+44 (0)1344 773131

Contract details

Cost to the Department: £234,934.00

Actual start date: 01 December 2002

Actual completion date: 31 January 2006


0415024. Occupant Behaviour During Pre-Impact Braking - Car Passengers
Author: MIRA Ltd
Publication date: 26/01/2004
Source: Contact:
More information:

EU PRISM Task 1.1 State of the Art Literature Review Document Database
Author: TUG
Publication date: 18/02/2004
Source: Contact:

UPR/SE/105/04. Proposed Reduction of car crash Injuries through improved SMart restraint development technologies (PRISM) A Summary of the DfT Contribution (January 2003 to August 2004)
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 30/09/2004
Source: Contact

UPR/VE/07/05. Proposed Reduction of car crash Injuries through improved SMart restraint development technologies (PRISM) Partial Regulatory Impact Assessment
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 31/01/2006
Source: Contact

UPR/VE/010/05. Proposed Reduction of car crash Injuries through improved SMart restraint development technologies (PRISM) Final Report
Author: TRL Ltd
Publication date: 31/01/2006
Source: Contact

Summary of results

  1. TRL work packages. The project produced a series of data sheets which covered each of the identified injury scenarios. These data sheets provide all the relevant information on injury mechanisms, injury causation and frequency of injury in a user-friendly manner, with the intention that this information could be used by industry to aid the effective development of "smart" restraint technologies.
  2. MIRA work package. A total of 49 volunteers undertook a range of tests, totalling 230 in number. These tests were undertaken in an instrumented test vehicle fitted with 5 video cameras. Measures were taken to obtain results that were as realistic as possible with varying degrees of success. The research gave factual and credible outputs, which were discussed and recommendations made to assist in the future work packages of the PRISM project.