Volvo deploys pedestrian airbag

2012-03-09 10:12

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:

  • ofentse.ramorula - 2012-03-09 13:27

    This idea is total crap. The car will have to be written off because an airbag deployed, it will be much easier to repair the damage caused by the impact as it wont be that much. This idea will just make the car more expensive to build and more expensive to insure.

      Mouldy - 2012-03-09 15:51

      Dude, have you seen what the front of a car looks like when it hits a person at some speed? The front end is practically destroyed, what difference will it make if there's an airbag popping out to try and save the poor pedestrian? Volvo has been innovating safety in cars for decades, the laminated windscreen, 3 point sfety belt, airbag, rear facing child seats...the list goes on and on. If this idea comes from Volvo, it's bound to be saving lives out there.

      Phoenix - 2012-03-10 16:54

      Mouldy these devices are for deployment at lower speeds, where the pedestrian normally gets hurt because their heads hit the windscreen. You can fix limbs relatively easily, but a bashed brain is not so good.

      graham.carruthers - 2012-03-12 15:52

      Mouldy the airbag is an American invention! They invented it to be used instead of a seatbelt. The first manufacturer to use the two and part of a system was Mercedes Benz. Also whilst the 3 point seatbelt was a big step forward the real breakthrough was with pre-tensioners - another Mercedes Benz first.

  • Trevor - 2012-03-09 13:33

    One day, cars will be like Blow Fish, you hit it, explodes into a ball, plays dead and rolls over...

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