Karthikeyan Ekambaram


Accepting PhD Students

Willing to speak to media

  • 1 Citations
  • 1 h-Index
If you made any changes in Pure these will be visible here soon.

Personal profile


Dr Karthik Ekambaram is a Research Fellow at Institute for Future Transport and Cities within Coventry University. Karthik is currently working on research projects, funded by the UK governmnent, concerning evaluation of Connected and Autonomous Vehicles (CAVs) in real-world (public roads and controlled environent) and virtual settings.

Karthik graduated from Anna University, India with a honours degree in Mechanical Engineering and holds post-graduate qualifications from Loughborough University including a Master’s degree in Automotive Systems Engineering and PhD degree in Automotive Crashworthiness. His PhD research investigated the potential benefit of adaptive restraint systems on improving occupant safety in real world European frontal car crashes.

Following the completion of his PhD, Karthik was working as a Researcher in Smart and Safe Mobility at the Transport  Safety Research Center (TSRC) in Loughborough University. Whist at TSRC, Karthik worked on road safety research projects funded by the European Commission and UK Department for Transport.

Prior to this position at Coventry University, he was working as a Lecturer in Automotive and Mechanical Engineering at Northumbria University, Newcastle where he designed and developed Automotive Crashworthiness and Vehicle Dynamics modules for the Undergraduate Mechanical and Automotive programmes.

PhD Project


In Europe, the deployment characteristics of frontal crash restraints are generally optimised to best protect an average young male, since a 50th percentile male dummy is used in a stylised frontal impact scenario. These “single point” restraint systems may not provide similar levels of effectiveness when the crash scenarios vary with respect to the regulatory and consumer crash test procedures. Previous research has demonstrated that varying restraint deployment characteristics according to occupant and crash variation can provide further injury reduction in frontal impacts. This thesis reports the investigation conducted to assess the potential real world injury reduction benefit of smart restraint systems in frontal impacts. The intelligent capability of the restraint was achieved by varying the seat belt load limiter (SBL) threshold, according to the frontal crash scenario.
Real world accident data (CCIS) were analysed to identify the target population of vehicle occupants and frontal impact scenarios where employing smart load limiters could be most beneficial, particularly in reducing chest injury risk. From the accident sample, the chest was the most frequently injured body region at an AIS 2+ level in frontal impacts (7% of front seat occupants). The proportion of older vehicle front seat occupants (>64 years old) with AIS 2+ injury was also greater than the proportion of younger occupants. Additionally, older occupants were more likely to sustain seat belt induced serious chest injury in low and moderate speed frontal crashes.
Numerical simulations using MADYMO software were conducted to examine the effect of varying the load limiter thresholds on occupant kinematics and injury outcome in frontal impacts. Generic baseline driver and front passenger numerical models were developed using a 50th percentile dummy and were adapted to accommodate a 5th and 95th percentile dummy. Simulations were performed where the load limiter threshold was varied in five frontal impact scenarios which were selected to cover as wide a range of real frontal crash conditions as possible. From the simulation results, it was found that for both the 50th and 95th percentile dummy in front seating positions (driver and passenger), the low SBL provided the best chest injury protection, without increasing the risk to other body regions. In severe impacts, the low SBL allowed the dummy to move further towards the front facia, thus 

increasing the chance of occupant hard contact with the vehicle interiors. The Smart load limiters predicted no injury risk reduction for the 5th percentile drivers, who are shorter and tend to sit closer to the steering wheel.
The potential injury reduction of the smart load limiters was quantified by applying the estimated injury risk reduction from the simulation to the real world accident data sample. Thoracic injury predictions from the simulations were converted into injury probability values using AIS 2+ age dependent thoracic risk curves which were developed and validated based on a methodology proposed by Laituri et al. (2005). Real world benefit was quantified using the predicted relative AIS 2+ risk reduction and assuming an appropriate adaptive system was fitted to all the cars in the real world sample. When applying the AIS 2+ risk reduction findings to the weighted accident data sample, the risk of sustaining an AIS 2+ seat belt injury reduced from 1.3% to 0.9% for younger front seat occupants, 7.6% to 5.0% for middle aged front seat occupants and 13.1% to 8.6% for the older front seat occupants.
The research findings clearly demonstrate a chest injury reduction benefit across all age groups when the load limiter characteristics are varied. It suggests that employing a smart load limiter in a vehicle would not only benefit older occupants but also middle aged and young occupants. The benefit does appear to be most pronounced for older occupants, since the older population is more vulnerable to chest injury. As the older population of car users is rapidly rising, the benefits of smarter systems can only increase in the future.

Keywords: accident data, frontal crash diversity, chest injury, elderly occupants, smart restraints, numerical simulations, AIS 2+ chest injury risk curve, benefit analysis

Research Interests

Car Occupant Protection (Restraints), Evaluation of CAVs in Real world and Virtual environment, Vulnerable Road User Safety

Education/Academic qualification

Automotive Crashworthiness, Doctorate, Loughborough University

Automotive Systems Engineering, MSc, Loughborough University

Mechanical Engineering (BEng Hons), Degree, Anna University

External positions

PhD Research Supervisor, Northumbria University

Fingerprint Fingerprint is based on mining the text of the person's scientific documents to create an index of weighted terms, which defines the key subjects of each individual researcher.

  • 7 Similar Profiles
Thoracic Injuries Medicine & Life Sciences
Seat Belts Medicine & Life Sciences
Railroad cars Engineering & Materials Science
Wounds and Injuries Medicine & Life Sciences
Seats Engineering & Materials Science
Video recording Engineering & Materials Science
Abbreviated Injury Scale Medicine & Life Sciences
Thorax Medicine & Life Sciences

Network Recent external collaboration on country level. Dive into details by clicking on the dots.

Research Output 2015 2019

  • 1 Citations
  • 1 h-Index
  • 3 Paper
  • 3 Article
  • 1 Commissioned report
  • 1 Other contribution

The potential benefit of SMART load limiters in European frontal impacts

Ekambaram, K., 2016, Loughborough University (© The Authors).

Research output: Other contribution

Review of Existing CAV Testing Facilities

Ekambaram, K. & Parkes, A., 28 Sep 2018, 31 p.

Research output: Book/ReportCommissioned report


Effect of age on injury outcome in passenger car frontal crashes

Ekambaram, K. & Frampton, R., Jun 2016.

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Wounds and Injuries
Rib Fractures
Thoracic Injuries
Seat Belts
Body Regions

Assessing accessibility and safety conditions in an urban environment: what do pedestrians perceive?

Aceves-González, C., Rizo-Corona, L., Rosales-Cinco, R., Rey-Galindo, J., Ekambaram, K. & Ramos-Tachiquín, M., 2019, (Accepted/In press).

Research output: Contribution to conferencePaper

Factors Associated with Chest Injuries to Front Seat Occupants in Frontal Impacts

Ekambaram, K., Frampton, R. & Lenard, J., 2019, (Submitted) In : Traffic Injury Prevention.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Thoracic Injuries
Railroad cars
Wounds and Injuries

Activities 2015 2017

  • 2 Invited talk
  • 1 Editorial activity

Road Transportation Safety

Karthik Ekambaram (Speaker)
21 Mar 2017

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

SaferWheels- European Powered Two Wheeler Accident Study

Karthik Ekambaram (Speaker)
Apr 2016

Activity: Talk or presentationInvited talk

Traffic Injury Prevention (Journal)

Karthikeyan Ekambaram (Associate Editor)
2015 → …

Activity: Publication peer-review and editorial workEditorial activity


Associate Fellow of Higher Education Academy (AFHEA), UK.

Karthikeyan Ekambaram (Recipient), 2017

Prize: Fellowship awarded competitively