The importance of driving with your butt

(To Gianluca Celentano)

The seat and the driving position are the first elements that determine the safety and control of the vehicle, to say so are authoritative instructors of the safe driving schools and even more drivers of the caliber of Niki Lauda: he argued, with good reason, that 30% of the credit in a competition goes to the car, 40% to the driver and the rest ... to luck ..., but it is the "butt" that understands where the car is going.

The concept is: show me how you sit behind the wheel and I'll tell you what driver you are.

Safe, not comfortable

In order to stand up to market competition, car manufacturers have invented a bit of everything. For heaven's sake all found useful and interesting, but which substantially emphasize the comfort of the driver, dangerously removing him from that sensitive relationship with the vehicle that is actually still necessary.

Let's analyze some aspects: being comfortable (too backwards or "lying") on the seat considerably slows down emergency reactions and contributes to a lower sense of balance, a seat armrest positioned too high can hinder the elbow when steering, turning with one hand a soft steering offers less steering angle and less alertness, relying on inertia by putting the gearshift in neutral or pressing the clutch to brake (luckily robots now exist) jeopardizes the stability of the vehicle.

Although the vehicle is transforming itself into a “multimedia extension of movement” of our life, it is still possible to interact with professional adjustments to increase active safety. On the specialized military vehicles then, there is much more ...

7 types of protective seats

Being authorized to pilot an armored vehicle does not only mean knowing its characteristics, use, limits and diversionary maneuvers, but also how you should be on board. The focus is on how to improve the safety and ergonomics of seats for military personnel on armored vehicles, boats or Mobius Protection Systems Israeli company where several engineers from the armored vehicle industry converged. There Mobius has created seven types of seats Blast Protected used for any role covered by the military on a team.

Protection is based on the concept Spiral (photo), i.e. on very sturdy metal pins made in a very compact helical shape. In the event of a deflagration or a strong impact, the pivot becomes weakened, elongating and cushioning the jolt of the soldiers' body together with the specific seat anchor. In reality, observing them they do not seem very different from each other and perhaps evading the commercial concept, the types could be less based on function and placement.

The categories include: seats for the troop, for the vehicle crew, for the driver, for the gunner, in addition to specific Mrap seats, set up on Humvee e Oshkosh defense, for the boats of the Navy and the Crashworthy for Aviation.

The common elements are lightness, containment, special guides, the presence of 4/5 point belts, intuitive adjustments and ease of operation in leaving the structure, as well as technology and design that allow Mobius to adapt and customize the seats according to the internal ergonomics of the vehicle.

Protect yourself from shock waves

The information note of Mobius Protection Systems he explains that 600 tests have been carried out on each seat, while 13.000 have been supplied to the American, Israeli and European defense to set up 45 different anti-mine vehicle platforms. In fact, although the safety capsule of an armored vehicle maintains the insulation with the outside in case of deflagration under the hull, the shock wave could be between 250-600G (!). The technology of these seats promises to reduce it to less than 25G, an entity that a human body can survive.

Among the values ​​analyzed by the engineers is the parameter Dynamic Response Index (DRI) which determines the likelihood of spinal damage caused by a violent vertical force generated by an explosion or impact from a jet ejection seat.

The seat of the machine gunner, which when folded has a walkable step plate, has different functions and supports for the trunk plus a platform to prop up and can also be fixed on vertical planes. It appears similar to that used for ships and motorboats, the only differences are the presence of armrests and the rotation provided for marine use.

That of the driver / Humvee (the same) and for the troop are apparently identical, but it is noted that there are no armrests and the profiles of the structure are thin enough to take up less space and allow sitting with a kevlar vest. The troop's one can also fold up to optimize the movement area, perhaps within a Armored Personnel Carrier.

The crew has a similar seat but from the photos it appears without headrest, probably for not having encumbrances in observing instruments and in managing operations.

These systems already embrace the MRAP (Mine-Resistant Ambush Protected) concept, while the very light aeronautical seats are unique, customized and studied in addition to impact resistance also for expulsions.

More and more safe military seats

La Mobius Protection Systems since 2009 it has been an outfitting solution chosen worldwide by many manufacturers of tactical vehicles and operational vehicles including Oshkosh defense. The revolutionary energy absorption system is associated with the need to provide valid materials to better protect the military in modern and frequent contexts of war and from the unknowns of IED attacks.

If we analyze the past of our multi-role tactical vehicles, we realize that the seats were a simplified, rubberized and plasticized variant of the civil series, often with little containment and two adjustments, the longitudinal and for the backrest (see VM90 and MUV 70/20) .

It must be said that on the VTLM Lynx (in the photo the rear seats of a VTLM Lince 2), which is part of a highly specialized tactical band, deep attention was also paid to the safety of the seats, so much so that those assigned to the crew are equipped with angular headrests unlike what emerges from the images of the production of Mobius Protection Systems.

Features of seats for military vehicles

This data comes from Italy and is reported by a historic engineering company, the Cama srl of Milan founded in '58 to supply components to Lambretta and Innocenti, subsequently becoming a leader in the production of seats and collaborator with the most renowned automotive brands such as Ferrari, Maserati, Bugatti, Sparco. Specialized also in the railway, agricultural, aviation and nautical sectors, it also has an important competence in seats for military vehicles.

The discipline for making a component to be fitted on a military vehicle is very strict and must comply with NATO directives.

The duration over time, being fireproof and its simplicity are the first main characteristics, but also their arrangement is different from the civil installations. In fact, if in the civil field the seats are side by side, militarily in the operational vehicles they are arranged in rows placed one in front of the other, therefore with the shoulders of the soldier facing the fuselage or the cell / structure of the vehicle. This allows more internal movement in any operational situation, but also a faster evacuation in the event of a large vertical inclination of the vehicle: the seats become a real ladder.

Modularity is also a key element when it is necessary to add or remove seats to increase the transport of soldiers and / or armaments.

Photo: US DoD / Mobius Protection Systems / Online Defense