According to a recent AAA study, drivers don’t fully understand the limitations of advanced safety technology installed in newer vehicles.
Hyundai safety engineers have invented what they are calling the world’s first airbag system designed to protect people from multiple collisions.
The Korean automaker said the new device is calibrated to deploy when a vehicle is hit seriously following an initial, less-serious impact that does not cause deployment. In most vehicles, airbags won’t go off after an initial impact is registered.
The breakthrough occurred in part because Hyundai developed a system that can track the position of occupants following the initial impact, making it less likely the airbag deployment will injure someone.
“We have not decided yet which new vehicles will receive this airbag system,” Jin Cha, general manager of global public relations for Hyundai, said in an email. “However, since (the) U.S. is one of the biggest markets for Hyundai, where we sell our technologically advanced vehicles, the Hyundai vehicles sold in (the) U.S. will most likely to receive this system when it goes to production.”
It’s also likely to make its way into vehicles under the Kia brand, which is part of the Hyundai company.
The automaker described multi-collision accidents as “those in which the primary impact is followed by collisions with secondary objects, such as trees, electrical posts or other vehicles.”
That type of collision happens in about 3 in 10 accidents, according to National Highway Safety Traffic Administration figures.
“Current airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact is insufficient to cause them to deploy,” Hyundai said. “However, the multi-collision airbag system allows airbags to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.”
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