Seat Comfort Has a First Name, It’s OSCAR


2013 Chevrolet Malibu gives customers more room and comfort inside.

Chevrolet Malibu SeatDUBAI – The name “Oscar” may bring to mind an award statuette or a former championship boxer. But for Chevrolet, Oscar plays a key role in the engineering and interior design of the all-new 2013 Chevrolet Malibu.

Oscar is GM’s three-dimensional, mannequin-like simulation tool comfort engineers used early in the product development process of Malibu to determine the overall dimensional layout of the car’s interior. Before the interior was designed and engineered, Oscar first provided the key measurements Engineering and Design needed to create optimal interior space and comfort.

Technically known as a “Comfort Dimensioning System,” Oscar is assembled in 18 removable parts weighing up to 77 Kgs, and is made of steel, plastic and aluminum.

In the mid-1940s, Northrop used a similar device named Oscar Eightball. The 84 Kgs aviation dummy was used for ejection seat and other testing. GM patented a similar tool for optimal interior space and comfort testing. Later on, the name was shortened to Oscar to differentiate the automotive from the aviation anthropomorphic test dummy.

Oscar is mechanically hinged at the hip or “H” point, which simulates the actual pivot center of the human torso and thigh. Based on the “H Point,” engineers and interior designers determine the necessary headroom and the optimal back angle that should be offered. All this data directly influences positioning of the steering wheel, the pedals, rearview mirrors, instrument panel and other driving controls to ensure that the Malibu provides maximum room and comfort for a broad spectrum of customers.

“Oscar represents our consumers,” said Malibu seat performance engineer Daniel Cohen. “We use Oscar much like a builder uses a level to make sure that the building foundation is even. Oscar gives us a solid baseline around which we design and build new vehicles, like the Malibu.”

GM engineers designed and patented Oscar in 1961. The seat comfort tool was developed to “aid the designer of the automobile passenger compartment,” according to a white paper presented by former GM engineers Vincent Kaptur, Jr. and Michael Myal at the 1961 SAE International Congress in Detroit. Oscar was the key to a new dimensioning concept adopted for industry use by the Automobile Manufacturer’s Association starting with 1963 models, and is now a required part of the design for Federal Motor Vehicle Safety Standards.

Human X-rays were used to help develop Oscar’s shape and size.

About Malibu

The new Malibu will be sold in nearly 100 countries on six continents. It will be available in LS, LT and LTZ models in the Middle East in spring 2012. Malibu will be built in multiple locations around the globe.