Livonia, Michigan -- TRW Automotive Holdings Corp. has developed innovative side-impact solutions that it says help occupant protection adapt to crash variables such as occupant size and crash severity.
Two examples are the 3D Side Airbag and the Inward Side Impact Airbag (SIAB). Both are designed to result in rapid deployment to protect a full spectrum of passengers in outboard seating positions. The SIAB is deployed through the seat foam, and thus has implications for seat makers and foam suppliers.
"As with frontal airbags, TRW is continuously seeking to develop technologies that adjust according to the unique variables of seat position, passenger size and position, the amount of energy created from the crash pulse and more," said Norbert Kagerer, vice president, engineering, TRW Occupant Safety Systems, in a company statement.
"Side protection is particularly challenging given the very small amount of time in which the crash must be sensed and the airbag deployed - typically in the 15 to 20 millisecond range - so anything we can do to help safely speed up the time in which the airbag contacts the body is potentially very valuable."
The inward SIAB configuration - that deploys through a seam in the seat and uses the seat foam as further cushion - offers a number of benefits across crash scenarios. Tests show that it delivers improved homogeneous restraint values across body regions.
Also, the amount of time between crash sensing and occupant restraint has been lowered. The new inward SIAB also has positioning and packaging advantages in tight vehicle cabins such as small cars.
The three-dimensional side -airbag designs can offer the potential for more rapid contact with the occupant in side crashes and tests have shown significant improvement in restraint performance.
The 3D airbag has also exhibited a good balance in meeting the test criteria for both pole and barrier tests, due to increased contact area with the occupant. This may also allow for further adaptability through the use of lower pressure levels when appropriate, said TRW.