The goal of the Honda team is to find a way to save lives that have been lost due to brain trauma caused by airbags that are inadequate.
The safety systems added to vehicles that we drive every day have become better than ever before. Even though the number of deaths on the roadways in crashes has declined by a percentage of the total drivers, our roads are more congested than ever before. In 2017, there were 24,973 people that died in car crashes on the roads in America, and as much as 25 percent of these were people who were passengers in the vehicles and not the driver.
Addressing Specific Brain Trauma
When you’re the passenger in a vehicle you might turn your head toward the driver, look to the people in the rear seats, fall asleep with your head on your chest, or lean toward the window when on the road. Being a passenger can be mind-numbing and boring, causing you to fidget and shift around. When a crash happens, if your head isn’t facing forward, you could suffer diffuse axonal injury to your brain which is a concussion where the skull rotates more rapidly than the brain causing traumatic shearing to your brain. This is the injury that Honda is working to avoid.
Current Airbags Don’t Do the Trick
The current airbag design, which is essentially a large pillow of air, inflates a significant distance from the passenger’s head and meets up to stop the impact. The trouble is, this airbag is designed to do this when the passenger is sitting upright and facing forward. The airbag itself could cause the injury that Honda is trying to avoid if the passenger is out of position. A new patented airbag has been created by Honda with three inflating components with the central chamber and two flanking ones to bring the pillow closer to the passenger. There’s also a section of cloth between the two flanking sections to catch and offer a softer landing for the passenger that’s out of position.
Honda Sets a New Standard
There are several calculations that go into creating the new airbag, and the Honda team is leading the way. The industry normally uses what’s called HIC or Head Injury Criterion but Honda is creating a new BrIC which is Brain Injury Criterion to assess the risk to the brain during a crash. This takes the level of safety a step farther for Honda to give us more of what we need in our vehicles.
Advanced Crash Simulation
In order to truly develop this new airbag, Honda has had to develop a new crash simulator sled and programs which crash dummies that can determine the movement of the brain relative to the skull during a crash. This new setup makes it easier for the Honda team to optimize every component of the experience during a crash. Take a look at these videos and learn more about this new airbag and see how it might work better for you in a future Honda vehicle.
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