As a pioneer in automotive safety Volvo steps up its game by launching the world’s first pedestrian airbag in a produciton car in the new V40. The Swedish car maker realized every year 1.3 million people are killed on the world’s roads. They have set themselves an ambitious goal which says by 2020, nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo.
In order to accomplish that goal, they went ahead and developed sophisticated system such as Pedestrian Detection, City Safety and the Pedestrian Airbag. They are designed to prevent the accident first, and then compensate for them if prevention was not successful.
The spearhead of Volvo’s effort to reduce fatalities is the Pedestrian Airbag, which is why it’s been fitted as standard to all specifications. The system 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.
Here’s how the system works in more details:
Seven sensors embedded 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.
The bonnet hinges are each equipped with pyrotechnic release mechanisms which, when the system is activated, pull out a pin and release the rear of the bonnet panel. At the same time, the airbag (consisting of a sack and a gas hybrid generator) is activated and starts filling with gas, which only takes a few milliseconds. 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.