Toronto, Ontario — Tier 1 airbag developer Autoliv recently unveiled an airbag system for a new era, built around meeting the needs of both modern electric vehicles, as well as safety and environmental sustainability.
Many modern vehicle designs, especially those of electric models, feature roomier and more open interiors than in years past. This presents a unique challenge to airbag developers in creating a product that can physically reach passengers quickly and safely.
The new Bernoulli Airbag system from Autoliv is capable of inflating a larger airbag with a smaller inflator than average, thanks in large part to the company’s application of the airbag’s namesake principle.
The name is inspired by Swiss mathematician Daniel Bernoulli who developed a principle stating that an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in static pressure. Using this principle, Autoliv leverages pressure differences to add a significant contribution of surrounding air to the inflation of an airbag, according to the company’s press release.
In the airbag’s case, a crash will trigger a signal to the inflator to propel high pressure gases at supersonic speed through multiple inlet tubes. As the gases flow through the tubes, it will suck the surrounding ambient air into the chamber with the gases, creating aspiration, and will inflate a much larger airbag with an even smaller inflator than average.
“We have developed a way to inflate very large airbags, like the one’s needed in newer electric vehicles with roomier cockpits and comfort seating, with a smaller single stage inflator,” said Autoliv CTO Jordi Lombarte.
“Additionally, the Bernoulli Airbag generates less heat, is lighter, and can reduce customer development testing in the United States by more than 30 percent. Low risk deployment requirements can be met with a single stage inflator.”
Autoliv supplies to nearly every major OEM, reporting in 2019 its biggest customers to be Renault Nissan Mitsubishi, Volkswagen and Hyundai/Kia.
It is unclear at this point as to whether the Bernoulli Airbag will be finding its way into North American vehicles any time soon.
Check out a video of the Bernoulli Airbag in action down below.