As opposed to a conventional airbag, which has one inflatable component, Honda’s new version consists of:
- A center chamber.
- Two outward-projecting side chambers that create a wide base across the dashboard.
- A “sail panel” that stretches between the two side chambers at their outermost edge. Honda describes it as a catcher’s mitt that decelerates the occupant’s head while also engaging the side chambers, pulling them inward to cradle and protect the head.
“Looking at the real-world data, we can tell that over 56 percent of these real-world crashes have some level of angled impact. I mean, it’s not straight into a wall or to a tree or something,” said Heitkamp. “So we recognized that we need a restraint system that can improve at the angle-type collisions.”
In 2013, the scientific community developed BrIC, short for brain injury criteria, which measures brain strain caused by rotational velocity. “This is looking at the brain-tissue damage and its cause from rotation of the head itself,” Heitkamp said. From BrIC, engineers developed an equation that can be measured with dummies in Honda R&D’s lab.
With the new design, “we can better manage lateral forces that are coming into the airbag system,” Heitkamp said in a video explaining the technology. “And we’re able to provide a better restraining system from the airbag.”