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201230 May

Pedestrian Airbag


Volvo Car Corporation and Volvo Technology are synonymous with advanced technical research works and inventions in the auto world. Now, it has equipped the grand new V40 model with sophisticated and secure pedestrian airbag. As much as seven sensors have taken the technical superiority of this car protection feature to a new level. The compact mechanism ensures the new-age Pedestrian Airbag Technology to perform at a lighting speed.


Generally car makers fully concentrate upon ensuring the safety of the passengers inside, but Volvo has emerged as a pedestrian-friendly car with the attachment with the seven-sensor-packed air bag. As car makers vie with each other to touch 100 km/h from 0 km/h within a flash, pedestrians fall easy prey to speeding vehicles as they hardly enjoy any protection from collisions with heavy vehicles.


As per data available from China, the USA and Europe the percentage of pedestrians deaths in all sorts of traffic fatalities account for 25 percent, 12 percent and 14 percent respectively. The number is far greater involving the injured hapless pedestrians. Generally the heavy frame under the car bonnet panel wrecks the maximum havoc for the severe head injuries. Moreover, windscreen's lower edge and the A-pillars are equally responsible for causing grievous injuries to the pedestrians.


The above mentioned factors have played crucial influential factors behind the birth of sophisticated Pedestrian Airbag Technology. As expected, this new technology almost instantly caught the attention of the car world when fitted with this revolutionary safety gear, Volvo V40 made its debut in Geneva this year.


Commenting on the utility of the new-age airbags, Thomas Broberg, Senior Technical Advisor Safety, Volvo Car Corporation added "We are proud to be able to offer a car with an airbag for pedestrians. The purpose of the airbag is to help protect pedestrians in certain situations when they impact the bonnet and the area around the windscreen wiper recess and A-pillar, where there may be a risk of serious head injuries".


Basic function of Pedestrian Airbag Technology:


Seven sensors are fitted at the front of the car transmitting signal to a control centre. Whenever the car is on the verge of contacting an object, the censors send different sort of signals to be evaluated by the control panel. If the interpretation deciphers that that objects are ‘human legs’ then the pedestrian airbag starts its functions.


airbag mechanism


Both the bonnet hinges are equipped with pyrotechnical release system that pull out a pin and discharge the bonnet rear panel upon activation of the automated facility. Following that the Airbag is summoned to action and starts to be filled with gas. Under the impact of the inflated Airbag the bonnet is raised by ten centimetres and remains in that lifted position. The blank space between the bonnet and the heavy materials in the engine compartment enables the bonnet to deform, thus reducing the impact of the collision with a human being.


Thomas Broberg explained "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.”


The airbag in its fully inflated state wraps the windscreen wiper area, about one-third of the windscreen and the lower section of the A-pillars. Although the whole inflation process takes several stages, it only consumes few hundredths of a second to act.


Demo run involving human-like dummy legs 


pedestrian airbag

Volvo Car Corporation’s pedestrian technology system has shown best results when the car moves between the speed limit of 20-50 km/h. Since majority of the road accidents (75 percent) involving pedestrians take place when the vehicle moves at a maximum speed of 40 km/h, the test result is expected to be fully reflected in ideal situations too.


"We developed the technology using computer simulations and human-like leg and head forms. The tests were carried out in a wide variety of configurations," added Thomas Broberg.


The airbag contains a sack and a gas hybrid generator. On receiving instructions from the automated control centre, it is filled with gas within a few milliseconds.


Volvo Car Corporation has already established its mark in pedestrian safety aspect. Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake was successfully lunched few years back in 2010. It aims at evading smash with a pedestrian when the vehicle moves at speeds of up to 35 km/h in case of driver’s error. However, if the car moves at much higher speed then the mechanism reduces the vehicle’s speed to a great extent to minimise the impact of the collision.

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