The idea behind an airbag is simple. In the event of an accident, they inflated to protect your body from hitting the hard parts of your car like the dashboard. They also help keep you firmly in your seat. Although airbags seem simple, they are carefully designed to inflate at just the right speed and in just the right shape to keep you safe. The engineers at Honda developed a new airbag that will keep you even safer than the ones used today.
This new passenger front airbag is designed to reduce the number of injuries in front impacts, especially those that occur at an angle that causes lateral collision forces. These tend to send your body to the side, which can cause your head to slide off an airbag. This type of impact happens when cars don’t hit directly head on, but rather clip front bumpers or hit slightly off center.
The solution Honda developed is an airbag with three chambers instead of one. There’s one chamber in the middle and then two on either side that create a wide base across the dashboard. That middle chamber has a panel that stretches between the two side chambers.
As your head touches the center chamber, this pulls the two side chambers inward to cradle your head. The design keeps your head from sliding off the airbag, which prevents not only injuries from an impact with the dashboard, but injuries resulting from your head twisting to one side.
The new airbags were designed after Honda engineers studied real-world crashes and then combined that information with research and testing at Honda’s R&D center in Ohio. “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.
This isn’t a future technology that Honda hopes to refine and implement many years down the road. It’s ready now and will begin appearing in Honda vehicles in the United States in 2020. It will debut on an as-yet undisclosed model first, and then continue to rollout with redesigns and full model changes to additional vehicles in the Honda lineup.