August 9, 2002
Honda unveils new side curtain airbag technology
Torrance, California – Honda is introducing a new, rapidly deploying side curtain airbag that protects vehicle occupants from head and neck injuries in the event of a side collision. The side curtain airbag deploys over a wide area to protect both front and rear seat occupants, especially from head impacts to the center pillar. The first Honda to be equipped with the new airbags is the new 2003 Accord, available in September.
The new side curtain airbag was developed to effectively protect the heads and necks of occupants with a variety of physiques in a variety of positions in the event of a side collision, without causing any collateral injury. In order to deploy the airbag to cover almost the entire side window surface instantaneously, the airbag is fitted with a low-temperature gas (compressed helium) inflator that achieves a deployment speed of approximately 0.015sec. This rapid deployment speed allows the bag to be made thicker for more effective impact absorption, reducing the shock to the head area at time of impact.
The system uses five impact sensors located in the middle of the vehicle and beside the left and right front seat occupants, along with sensors positioned next to the rear seat occupants. This permits optimum control over the inflation timing of the side curtain airbag and side airbags, depending on the form of side impact involved.
Honda first began basic airbag research in 1971. In 1987, it was the first Japanese auto maker to introduce a driver-side SRS airbag system. Honda independently developed its own airbag technology, including installation positioning, inflator characteristics, bag folding and storage, and various other features. In 1998, the same thinking was further applied to Honda’s SRS system, featuring an inflator with a two-stage deployment system depending on the size of the impact, and a side airbag with an occupant posture detection sensor that combined improved occupant protection with reduced risk of collateral injury — both world firsts.