Livonia, Michigan – TRW Automotive has unveiled innovative new side impact crash protection systems that adapt to crash variables, including occupant size and crash severity, to improve vehicle safety.

The new 3D Side Airbag and Inward Side Impact Airbag (SIAB) are designed for rapid deployment to protect a full spectrum of passengers in the outboard seating positions.

“As with frontal airbags, TRW is continuously seeking to develop technologies that adjust according to the unique variables of seat position, passenger size and position, the amount of energy created from the crash pulse and more,” said Norbert Kagerer, vice-president of engineering for TRW occupant safety systems. “Side protection is particularly challenging given the very small amount of time in which the crash must be sensed and the airbag deployed, typically in the 15- to 20-second millisecond range, so anything we can do to help safely speed up the time in which the airbag contacts the body is potentially very valuable.”

The inward SIAB configuration, which deploys through a seam in the seat and uses the seat foam as further cushion, shows that it delivers improved restraint across the regions of the body and lowers the amount of time between crash sensing and occupant restraint. Its position and size also has advantages in smaller vehicles.

The three-dimensional airbag offers the potential for more rapid contact, and exhibits a good balance in meeting the test criteria for both pole and barrier tests, due to increased contact area with the occupant. This may also allow for lower pressure levels when appropriate.

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