When the Volvo V40 debuted at the Geneva Motor Show in March, it caused us to do a double take. And not because of the design (although it is a stylish hatchback) but because of the revolutionary exterior front airbag. Exterior airbag?
Yes, you read that right. China leads with a 25 percent of fatalities being pedestrian-related, followed by Europe at 14 percent and the United States at 12 percent. Pedestrian safety regulations have gone into place in Europe, and it is causing a change in exterior vehicle design. Volvo, ever the leader in safety, has taken this effort to a whole new level.
The first component was City Safety with Pedestrian detection, a system that helps slow the vehicle to avoid impact with a pedestrians. Second, is the exterior airbag. Both efforts are elements of the company’s worthy goal to eliminate fatalities in Volvo vehicles by 2020. Thomas Broberg, Senior Technical Advisor for Safety at Volvo Car Corporation explains the system: “The purpose of the airbag is to help protect pedestrians in certain situations when they impact the bonnet and the area around the windscreen wiper recess and A-pillar, where there may be a risk of serious head injuries.”
It is active between speeds of 12 and 31 mph and uses an array of seven sensors embedded in the sheet metal. It apparently is smart and has been developed to only recognize pedestrian impact. We’ll see how that works out. Rather than just offer a press release about it though, Volvo has made to videos demonstrating how the system works. You can check it out below. Unfortunately Volvo has no plans to offer the V40 here in the United States. We wouldn’t be surprised to see the technology show up on other Volvo models though. Kudos to Volvo on pressing forward with efforts that will save lives.