Automotive safety systems supplier Autoliv has received Volvo Car’s excellence award for the development of the world’s first pedestrian protection airbag. The new airbag debuted on the Volvo V40/XC40 and contributed to Volvo achieving a top result in the EuroNCAP crash testing evaluation.
According to the World Health Organization, vulnerable road users, such as pedestrians and cyclists, represent nearly half of the annual 1.2m road fatalities in the world.
The main cause for fatalities among pedestrians is head injuries. Vehicle manufacturers have, in the past, mainly addressed these by focusing on creating sufficient clearance between the hood and structures in the engine compartment to allow the hood to act as a cushion.
However, several studies suggest that this is not enough, since adult head injuries occur even more frequently near the frames of the windshield.
Together with Volvo, Autoliv has developed the first outside airbag to provide protection if the head of the pedestrian hits the windshield area.
In a collision with a pedestrian, the hood raises and a U-shaped airbag deploys upon the windshield to cover the scuttle and the lower parts of the windshield as well as the A-pillars to help cushion the blow to the head.
Studies indicate that the airbag can reduce head injuries and fatalities by more than a third in frontal pedestrian collisions and thereby save thousands of vulnerable road users lives every year, says Autoliv.
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