Honda has revealed plans to introduce a new design for the front airbag in from 2020. According to the company, the airbag will come with technology that will give the occupants of the vehicle better protection from frontal collisions that occur at different angles and will minimize injuries to the neck and brain. Honda plans to start using the new technology in its models that will be available at the retail level in 2020.
The new design replaces the typical single inflatable compartment airbag design with a three-chamber design that comprises a center chamber and two side chambers that project outward. These chambers are connected through a mesh “sail panel”. Hence, the new shape would have an inverted “V-shape” rather than the V-shape of a conventional airbag. The restraining surface would be closer to the occupant when the airbag is deployed.
The new airbag is meant to cushion and limit the rotational velocity of the passenger’s head in the event that a collision occurs. Based on an analysis of criteria for brain injury, the new airbag offers 75 percent reduction in the rotational velocity of the head in a crash. In tandem with the added slack that modern seatbelts offer, it helps to distribute the force of impact between the seatbelt and airbag and thus minimize the injury to the occupant’s chest.
The development of the new airbag was based on research regarding the effects of airbag-protected collisions on brain tissue as seen through MRI scans. Honda worked on the development of the new technology, which it has co-patented with the auto supplier Autoliv. Tests to validate the new technology were conducted at Honda’s R&D facility in central Ohio. This facility accommodates a full crash-test dummy lab, a pitching sled that is sued to study and validate crashworthiness and passive safety systems, as well as a crash barrier lab that is used to carry out crash tests on full production vehicles.
“We are adding this feature because it’s safer and we know it’s beneficial to our customers,” said Eric Heitkamp, crashworthiness technical leader for Honda R&D Americas.
Honda did not divulge which models the new airbag would be used in first. Other automotive manufacturers can get access to the new airbag through Autoliv.
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