Honda’s next generation airbag is for the front passenger:
Developed in partnership with Autoliv, engineers at Honda R&D Americas, Inc. in Ohio developed a next generation airbag. The new airbag catches the occupant’s head in an almost baseball-mitt-shaped airbag. This reduces head trauma. We got to see the airbag function in person during a tour.
“This new airbag technology represents Honda’s continuing effort to advance safety performance in a wider variety of crash scenarios and reflects the innovative thinking that our engineers are bringing to the challenge of reducing traffic injuries and fatalities,” said Jim Keller, President of Honda R&D Americas, Inc. “Guided by Honda’s ‘Safety for Everyone’ commitment, our engineers recognize that their work on this type of breakthrough safety technology will have far-reaching effects on peoples’ lives for many years to come.”
It’s like a baseball glove for your head.
Most airbags utilize a single inflatable compartment. This next generation airbag has three inflated compartments. Those inflated chambers support a “sail panel” that stretches between the two side chambers at their outermost edge. It acts as a soft landing platform for your head, and it mitigates the effects of the head snapping in one direction or another.
Given its overall size, packaging and where it must be deployed to be most effective, this airbag is for the front passenger only. With that being said, the possibility of future applications to other areas of the vehicle appear to be explored. This technology will filter to other automotive produces in the near future.
A visit to Honda R&D
During our visit to Honda’s R&D center in Ohio, we were given a unique behind-the-scenes look at their constantly evolving safety technology. Everything from virtual reality crash testing to actual crash testing was explored. I was placed in a driving simulator with a 260-degree wraparound screen. We witnessed the application of a variety of crash-test dummies for cabin safety and pedestrian safety.
Honda gave us access to their TEC outdoor research track facility where we drove Honda vehicles through a few scenarios where pedestrians and vehicles were the obstacles. These vehicles demonstrated Honda’s automated braking system that will stop the vehicle autonomously.
It was quite an education, one that we documented on an upcoming video. Check out a preview of that experience below: