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Volvo deploys pedestrian airbag

2012-03-09 10:12

CRASH MITIGATION: In this screenshot you can see the U-shaped airbag being deployed and a pedestrian being cushioned instead of bashing against the bonnet or windscreen.


Gallery: 2012 Volvo V40

2012-02-28 17:05

Volvo will be gunning for the premium hatchback segment when its all-new V40 hatchback is revealed at the Geneva auto show on March 6, 2012.

Lane detection, blind-spot sensors, pedestrian detection system... Volvo has long been synonymous with protecting humans in cars.

Now the Swedish automaker hs decided that it's not enough to just protect drivers; those in the roads and streets around them now also have a cushion that could save life.

Volvo's pedestrian air bag, launched with the V40 at the 2012 Geneva auto show, will deploy if a pedestrian hits the bonnet. It works with Volvo's pedestrian detection system but the overall goal is crash avoidance and mitigation.

When sensors in the front bumper detect imminent contact with a pedestrian a section of the bonnet will rise and a U-shaped airbag will deploy across the car's windscreen. The bag covers about a third of the glass and the bottom of the car’s A pillars to cushion the impact for anybody unlucky enough to be hit.


The V40 also features pedestrian detection and the city safety technology, which automatically stops the vehicle from rear-ending another car at low speed. Other safety highlights of the V40, borrowed from the XC60, include lane maintenance, automatic road sign detection, active head light technology and parking radar.

We have questions about the system: does it total the bonnet if deployed? What happens if the bonnet is not front-hinged? Also, the deployed bag seems to blind the driver.  One YouTube commenter said: "Um... What about that huge area of the windshield in the middle that isn't covered?"

Another commenter voiced concerns similar to our own: "OMG I CAN'T SEE!!!! *Crashes into five more pedestrians*"

Volvo will be sending out more information on the technology but meanwhile it's great to see the Swedish automaker pushing the boundaries of safety for drivers and pedestrians alike.

Watch the video below:

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