A pedestrian airbag is the latest safety technology from Volvo, which hopes to eliminate all injuries and fatalities from those in a Volvo by 2020. The automaker has confirmed the new pedestrian airbag will be standard on the European V40 hatchback.
Twelve percent of traffic accident victims are pedestrians; in Europe it's 14 percent. Most serious head injuries in auto-pedestrian collisions are caused by the hard structure under the hood at the base of the windshield and the A-pillars.
In the Volvo V40, seven sensors determine whether to deploy the airbag if the front of the car comes in contact with an object. Pyrotechnic mechanisms release the hood hinges to allow the inflating airbag to raise the rear of the hood 0.4 inches. The inflated airbag covers the windshield wiper cowl, the bottom third of the windshield, and the lower part of the A-pillars in just milliseconds. Production of the V40 is expected to begin this month, while the car arrives in dealerships later this year.
"The airbag has two functions. Firstly, it raises the bonnet to create distance, and secondly it cushions the impact around the hard parts of the area near the windscreen," said Thomas Broberg, Volvo's senior technical advisor on safety, in a release.
Volvo says 75 percent of pedestrian collisions happen at or below 25 mph, so the system is active at speeds between 12 mph and 31 mph.
Although the V40 won’t be sold in the U.S. market, we expect Volvo to offer the pedestrian airbag on future Volvo models. When asked about the technology's U.S.-market potential, a Volvo rep couldn’t confirm at this time plans for the pedestrian airbag on any U.S.-bound models.
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