View Full Version : Yet another air bag

11-12-2004, 08:25 AM
Many cars today offer driver air bags, passenger air bags, side-impact air bags, and side-curtain air bags. Where could they possibly stuff one of these really expensive, one-time-use modules next? Under the hood.

A Swedish company called Autoliv is working on the first under-hood air bag, which pops out to cushion the pedestrian you hit. The system also pops the hood open slightly if it detects you have hit someone.

The idea is that 80 percent of all car-to-pedestrian fatalities are caused by the pedestrian's head hitting a really unyielding part of the car. The base of the windshield and the A-pillars are classics, but the car hood is a major problem now because today's aerodynamic designs usually sweep the hood down as low as possible over the underlying engine. As a result, there isn't much crush-space for the hood, so when a pedestrian is thrown on it violently, nothing gives. Popping up the hood a few inches or blowing an air bag from under it could save a bunch of lives.

I can't imagine we're that far away from large external air bags that cushion cars in collisions with each other.

And to think we once laughed at Woody Allen's space suit in Sleeper