Honda has announced the development of a new passenger front airbag designed to better protect occupants in several frontal collision scenarios. Honda plans to begin applying the airbag design to new products in the United States in 2020.
Honda and Autoliv, one of the company’s safety systems suppliers, partnered to develop and test the new airbag. The USA’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) found that in 2017, upwards of 37,000 people lost their lives on US roads as a result of motor vehicle crashes.
Honda’s next-generation airbag is designed to reduce potential injuries that can occur in a wider variety of frontal impacts. Honda believes that it’s particularly beneficial in angled frontal impacts, where lateral collision forces can cause an occupant’s head to rotate severely or slide off the airbag, increasing the chance of serious injury.
The new system utilises four major components – three inflated compartments, a centre chamber, and two outward-projecting side chambers that create a wide base across the dash. The fourth component is a sail panel, which stretches between the two side chambers at the outer edge, catching and slowing the occupant’s head while also engaging the side chambers. This pulls the head inward to cradle and protect it, mitigating the potential for injury.
Hyundai Motor Group has announced its development and future commercialisation of what it says is the world’s first multi-collision airbag system. Multi-collision accidents are those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as trees, electrical posts or other vehicles. Hyundai says this occurs in three out of every 10 accidents.
Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy. However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.
Hyundai’s new technology detects occupant position in the cabin following an initial collision. When occupants are forced into unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised. Hyundai says multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective, providing additional safety when drivers and passengers are most vulnerable. By recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds more promptly during the secondary impact, thereby improving the safety of multi-collision vehicle occupants.
“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of the Chassis Technology Centre at Hyundai Motor Group. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”
According to statistics by the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System (NASS-CDS), an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the United States, about 30 per cent of 56,000 vehicle accidents from 2000 to 2012 in the North American region involved multi-collisions.
The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing over the centre line (30.8 per cent), followed by collisions caused by a sudden stop at highway toll gates (13.5 per cent), highway median strip collisions (8.0 per cent), and sideswiping and collisions with trees and electric poles (4.0 per cent).
Hyundai Motor Group said it analysed multi-collision scenarios in multilateral ways to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. The company said it will implement the system in new Hyundai and Kia vehicles in the future.