There are certain dangers related to driving a car, both for yourself in the shape of other cars and obstacles, as well as for the considerably more numerous, and more squishy, pedestrians. This has been obvious since the start of the automobile, whenever you get something so heavy, going so fast, you’re likely to cause some serious damage if it stops really abruptly.
Volvo has a reputation for making the safest cars in the business, and they’re keeping with that reputation by fitting the first pedestrian airbag, as a standard onto their entire Volvo V40 range.
They’ve recently released footage which demonstrates how this technology works. The system uses seven sensors placed at the front of the vehicle which transmit signals to a control unit which is meant to evaluate if the car has made contact with a human leg, to see whether or not it deploys the airbag.
In the case that the control unit activates the airbag, pyrotechnical release mechanisms fire to release the rear of the bonnet, thus allowing the airbag to raise the bonnet by ten centimetres and stay that way. The gap that is created allows for the bonnet to deform, while also keeping the pedestrian away from the hard engine components. The crumpling of the bonnet is meant to dampen a lot of the energy that the pedestrian would otherwise transfer to the much harder engine compartment.
The airbag only takes a few hundredths of a second to fully inflate, and once it is completely inflated it covers the windscreen wiper recess, the lower part of the A-pillars and about a third of the windscreen.
The system will only function between the 20-50 km/h range, because seventy-five percent of all accidents involving pedestrians take place up to 40 km/h. The Pedestrian Airbag Technology will work in conjuncture with Volvo’s Pedestrian Detection system with automatic braking.
Advances in science and technology have never made their way faster into the lives of the average man on the street than they are at the present time, and this applies mostly to the wide spread of mobile technology, smartphones, tablets and the like, but our cars have also become more and more loaded with various type of adaptive cruise control, parking assist and lane-keeping aids, not to mention the fact that they'll be able to start driving themselves pretty soon on a regular basis.