iCAT begins airbag ECU calibration testing

by Mayank Dhingra 12 Oct 2021


The International Centre for Automotive Technology (iCAT), the nodal vehicle homologation and development agency located in Manesar, Haryana, has commenced a new test laboratory at its premises.

The centre has commissioned the ‘misuse-abuse testing’ for airbag-deployment algorithms to adapt these codes to work in Indian conditions, and prevent deployment of airbags inside a vehicle, in non-intended situations (as depicted below).

iCAT will simulate real-world scenarios of non-intended situations of a vehicle in the field and help train airbag ECUs recognise non-intended scenarios generated from various situations like bad road conditions, low-speed impacts like hitting a curb, ramp or obstacles on road, and vibrations arising at the time of vehicle repair – for instance, from hammer blow and fastening of bolts using pneumatic guns.

Segregating these non-intended scenarios from the intended ones of high-velocity impact, or vehicle getting hit from the front or side, would ensure airbag deployment only in cases where it is actually required.

According to iCAT, suppliers of airbag modules, sensors and ECUs, had to approach testing and development agencies overseas to get these critical misuse-abuse tests done, hitherto. However, its in-house facility will now enable automotive manufacturers to conduct their airbag ECU calibration in India itself, thus, inducing cost and time saving as well.

The iCAT facility is equipped with a host of sensors required to collect data from various locations in a vehicle, as required by OEMs and suppliers for calibration of algorithm for airbag deployment. The agency is equipped with testing equipment for conducting both static and dynamic misuse-abuse tests.

Static tests: Door slam, door fitment, hammer blow, mallet blow, seat adjustment, horn blow, and customer specific tests.

Dynamic tests: Belgian pave, corrugated track, random track, herringbone, gravel andoff-road track to simulate bad road conditions such as curb hit, ramp jump, ditch drop, deer hit, and customer specific tests.

Cars are equipped with an airbag ECU along with remote sensor units (RSUs). RSUs are usually located in the side doors, frontal cross beams and airbag ECU in the tunnel area of the body-in-white. The airbag ECU, along with inputs from the RSUs takes decision whether to deploy or not deploy the airbags inside the vehicle.