Volvo launches the world’s first pedestrian airbag

Volvo launches the world’s first pedestrian airbag


  The world’s first pedestrian airbag fitted as standard on the all-new Volvo V40 is the next step towards the manufacturers target that no-one should be killed or injured in a new Volvo by 2020. This airbag could potentially reduce the 1.3 million people killed on the world’s road every year.

The revolutionary new airbag is active at speeds between 20 and 50 km/h. 75 per cent of all accidents involving pedestrians take place at up to 40 km/h.

The most serious head injuries involving pedestrians and cars are caused by the hard structure under the bonnet, the windscreen’s lower edge and the A-pillars.  These were the main areas that Volvo Car Corporation looked at when starting development of its Pedestrian Airbag Technology.

Seven sensors positioned in the front of the car transmit signals to a control unit. When the car comes into contact with an object, the signals change. The control unit evaluates the signals and if it registers what it interprets as a human leg the pedestrian airbag is deployed. During the inflation sequence the airbag raises the bonnet by 10 centimetres and stays in the raised position.

The added gap between the bonnet and the hard components in the engine compartment gives space for the bonnet to deform, creating a dampening effect when it is hit by a pedestrian.

“The airbag has two functions. Firstly, it raises the bonnet to create distance, and secondly it cushions the impact around the hard parts of the area near the windscreen,” explains Thomas Broberg, Senior Technical Advisor Safety, Volvo Car Corporation.

In its inflated position, the airbag covers the entire windscreen wiper recess, about one-third of the windscreen and the lower part of the A-pillars. The entire sequence from activation of the system to full inflation takes a few hundredths of a second.

23rd May, 2012

Author: Geraldine Herbert

Contributing Editor and Motoring Columnist for the Sunday Independent and editor of wheelsforwomen. Geraldine is also a regular contributor to Good Housekeeping (UK) and to RTÉ Radio One, Newstalk, TodayFM and BBC Radio. You can follow Geraldine on Twitter at @GerHerbert1

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