Bonnet Airbags Could Help Save Pedestrians

Automobile manufacturers are increasingly turning to airbag technology to increase driver safety in the future. Designed by Dr. Allen S. Breed initially as a replacement for seatbelts, the airbag made its first appearance in 1967 on Chrysler models. Since then, the standard front driver-only airbags became a thing of the past, with some cars now boasting of up to six inside, frontal, side, rear curtain, rear center and knee airbags. However, that may increase to seven soon enough.

Bonnet Airbag

Crash specialists at Cranfield University in Bedfordshire believe that they can improved crash safety by simply adding another airbag to the front outside windshield. The deployment of such a bag would help increase safety to a pedestrian hit by the oncoming car.

Analysts believe that over a third of pedestrians hit by cars, are killed as a result. The claim is that the airbag would decrease this number by helping absorb the shock and lessen the impact to the windshield and lethal side frame. Also, the design of the airbag allows the driver to maintain visibility after deployment.

Though nobly intended, the new “bonnet airbag” could see logistical problems, like deployment sensors. For normal airbags, strategically placed sensors detect crash worthy vibrations. For a pedestrian, a crash type vibration may never occur, thus rendering conventional sensors useless. Making them more sensitive could, on the other hand, result in unwanted deployment. Finding new ways of detecting a pre-pedestrian collision will be the key for the bonnet airbags success.

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