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Faculty Introduction: Dr. Valentina Graci on Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) Technology
Start Date: 1/11/2023Start Time: 4:00 PM
End Date: 1/11/2023End Time: 5:30 PM

Event Description
BIOMED Seminar

Faculty Introduction: Dr. Valentina Graci on Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) Technology and Its Effect on Human Physiology and Kinematics

Valentina Graci, PhD
Assistant Research Professor
School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems
Drexel University

Research Scientist
Children's Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies

The recent advancement of automated crash avoidance technologies is shifting the way emergency braking is achieved – from driver-applied manual braking to vehicle-triggered automatic braking.

Automatic Emergency Braking (AEB) deceleration pulses vary among vehicle models and manufacturers. The focus of AEB design has primarily been on ensuring the vehicle comes to a stop and avoids a crash and little attention has been paid to the occupants within these vehicles during the AEB deceleration. Characteristics of specific AEB pulses (such as Jerk, Maximum Deceleration, and Ramp-time) can result in increased motion of the occupant, which can lead to the occupant being out-of-position, such that when a crash occurs, protection may be compromised. Quantifying these variations across the modern fleet is crucial to understand the loading environment to which vehicle occupants of any age are exposed.

At the SLED LAB, I lead a research program on the effect of advanced and emerging vehicle technology on human physiology and kinematics, with a particular focus on age- and sex-based differences. In this seminar, I will focus on a line of research centered around AEB. The aims of this research are: 1) to categorize the AEB pulses in contemporary vehicles based on acceleration pulse features such as deceleration magnitude, jerk, and ramp time using unsupervised machine learning clustering techniques; 2) reproduce the resulting categories of AEB pulses from the clustering in the laboratory using a custom designed test apparatus; and 3) quantify pediatric and adult kinematics to understand the influences of different AEB on occupant motion.

This research can impact the creation of regulatory standards for AEB in vehicles that both ensure the effectiveness of AEB in stopping successfully without contacting obstacles and place vehicle occupants in the most advantageous position within the seat belt.

Valentina Graci, PhD, is a Research Scientist at the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies at the Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP) Research Institute and an Assistant Research Professor at the Drexel University School of Biomedical Engineering, Science and Health Systems. Her research is funded by automotive industries, such as Autoliv Inc. and Toyota Motor North America, and by the Center for Child Injury Prevention Studies at CHOP. Dr. Graci's research focuses on human biomechanics and spans automotive safety to age-related falls (in both children and older adults).  

Since 2017, Dr. Graci has performed her research studies in a CHOP laboratory (SLED Lab) on the Drexel University campus to understand the role of the startle reflex in trunk motion during low acceleration sled-simulated frontal vehicle impacts and the effect of novel seating configurations for autonomous driving on booster seated children.
Contact Information:
Name: Lisa Williams
Email: ltw22@drexel.edu
Valentina Graci
Papadakis Integrated Sciences Building (PISB), Room 120, located on the northeast corner of 33rd and Chestnut Streets.
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