Hyundai developing first airbag system that protects in multiple collisions

Hyundai engineers are developing the world’s first airbag system that protects people in multiple crashes, the automaker said.

Hyundai's new airbags are designed to re-calibrate after the initial crash to protect occupants from a subsequent collision. File Photo by Brian Kersey
Hyundai’s new airbags are designed to re-calibrate after the initial crash to protect occupants from a subsequent collision. File Photo by Brian Kersey

The new system aims to protect people in situations where the first collision is followed immediately by another, from things like other vehicles, trees and poles.
Hyundai said three in 10 accidents involve multiple collisions, citing data from the U.S. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. It also said the new system corrects a flaw in traditional airbags, which are only designed to inflate after the initial crash.

The new system can re-calibrate after the first impact, based on tracking the car and occupant positions, Hyundai said.

“By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” Taesoo Chi, head of Hyundai’s Chassis Technology Center, said in a statement. “We will continue our research on more diverse crash situations as part of our commitment to producing even safer vehicles that protect occupants and prevent injuries.”

Which Hyundai models and markets will see the new system have not been determined.

“We have not decided yet which new vehicles will receive this airbag system,” Hyundai public relations manager Jin Cha 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.”

Hyundai is also planning to use the system in its Kia brand.

BySommer Brokaw