Toronto, Ontario — Sept. 4, 2019 — Honda has taken a swing at an innovative airbag that aims to minimize the risk of injury in the event of a collision by taking design inspiration from baseball–it cradles the occupant’s head in a similar way to a ball in a catcher’s mitt.
Co-developed with Autoliv, one of the suppliers Honda retained in the wake of the Takata airbag recall, the new design features three inflatable chambers and a connecting “sail panel”. The design addresses a wider variety of frontal impacts, such as upfront and angled collisions that may cause an occupant’s head to rotate severely. When the airbag deploys, the sail panel decelerates the occupant’s head. The side chambers engage and pull inward to cradle the head, decreasing the risk of severe head rotation. The new airbag is said to reduce the risk of injury by up to 75 percent.
The design also uses a two-stage inflator, as opposed to the standard single-stage. A two-stage inflator accounts for the extra air volume and the speed required to fill the larger bag. According to Honda, the most catastrophic injuries occur within the first 150 milliseconds of a collision, hence the urgency.
Autoliv plans to eventually offer the same airbag model to other car companies when their exclusive contract with Honda ends. The new passenger airbag technology will be seen in 2020 Honda products, although it has not yet disclosed which models will receive it.