Airbag Bumpers Inflated Just Before the Crash
Bumpers have lost their important functions of crash load isolation and inter-vehicle compatibility. Occupant compartment protection has been shifted to collapse of surrounding structures, with vehicle inoperability and occupant injury not unusual after a 50 km/h barrier impact. For higher speed vehicle and occupant survivability, a larger crash stopping distance is needed - provided by bumpers extended by radar sensing of need just before the crash. The hydraulic extended bumper was first developed by Professor James Ryan, giving vehicle driveability after a 40 km/h barrier crash, and further developed worldwide in the Experimental Safety vehicle programs, but unfortunately never developed for the commercial market. Our current work is to demonstrate the potential of compartmented airbag bumper systems inflated just before the crash to cover 1 square meter on the crash surface.