Europe has turned its automotive safety attention in the past few years to pedestrian safety. This new focus has had a global impact on car design as automakers have created taller, flatter fronts to reduce serious injury for anyone that may cross paths with the vehicle.
Volvo, as always, is out to make a safer car. So it has taken pedestrian safety one step further with the Pedestrian Airbag System on the new V40.
The system works utilizing seven sensors embedded in the front of the car. When the car is traveling between 12 and 31 mph and comes in contact with an object, the control unit evaluates the signals from the sensors. If it decides the car as hit a human leg, the pedestrian airbag is deployed. The hinges of the hood are then released as the airbag inflates. This is all demonstrated in the video below:
Volvo does not mention the prospective damage associated with inflating the airbag. Deployment will likely mean replacement of the hood components, or the entire hood as part of the airbag’s responsibility is to turn the surface into a hollow, crushable landing area. The windshield is also another major prospective damage area.
So what this likely comes down to for the consumer is a level of selfishness. How much are you willing to pay for the safety of a stranger?