How Can An Auto Air Bag Save Motorcyclists
If you want the safety of an airbag on your motorcycle, there’s only one way to go at this point – buy a Honda Goldwing.
That could change in the very near future as Honda is hard at work developing a new system which will they say is suitable for a far wider range of machines, but for now, there’s only one way to go.
So how can an airbag wrapped around a carload of cagers tucked safely inside their Volvo help you out if you’re a motorcyclist?
Though it was envisioned to protect pedestrians, Volvo’s new exterior-mounted pedestrian safety system employs seven sensors, some seriously advanced technology and an airbag that deploys in less than the time it takes for the blink of an eye – a few milliseconds the company says – across the hood and windscreen area.
It works like this: sensors are embedded in the front of the car and they continually transmit signals to a control unit. If the car comes into contact with an object, the control unit performs calculations designed to determine the conformations of the object, and if those calculations come up “human,” an airbag is deployed.
“We developed the technology using computer simulations and human-like leg and head forms. The tests were carried out in a wide variety of configurations,” says Thomas Broberg, the senior Technical Advisor Safety, Volvo Car Corporation.
Volvo says the hinges on the hood are equipped with explosive release mechanisms, and once the system is activated, the hinge pins are released and the airbag inflates. Airbag inflation raises the hood 10 centimeters, the added space between the hood and engine allows for deformation, and that deformation acts as a buffer and creates a dampening effect when the surface is struck by the pedestrian.
Sounds good for pedestrian safety, but imagine if the system was tuned to sense a more violent impact from a larger object like, say, a motorcycle.
“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,” Broberg said.
On inflation, the airbag expands to cover the lower portion of the windshield and the car’s A-pillars.The sequence from activation to full inflation takes just a few hundredths of a second.
If these system makes it into widespread production, safety mavens may finally have the answer to lowering deaths from motorcycle accidents they’ve been looking for recently.
Combine the benefits of the Volvo system with improvements in the Honda concept, a new system which projects the airbag forwards above a motorcycle’s instruments cluster and trees, and you have a whole new ballgame in motorcycle safety.
Yet another idea which could protect riders, at this point more of a fashion accessory than a viable alternative, a wearable airbag which deploys around the riders head at the time of a collision, and you have a might triumvirate of safety tools added to the kit.
Could change the whole idea of ATTGATT…