Air bags save lives and protect automobile occupants from injury, but they don't always go off. Hyundai wants to protect drivers in the event of a secondary collision when other airbags might not work. The Korean brand introduced the first multi-collision airbag system on Saturday.
Unlike standard airbags, Hyundai's system is capable of protecting drivers and passengers in a secondary collision. For example, after a vehicle strikes another vehicle—and the airbags do not deploy—Hyundai's system remains ready to provide a buffer from another collision with another car, a tree, or a street light. The National Automotive Sampling System and Crashworthiness Data System showed about three in ten crashes involve a secondary collision with another vehicle or object.
After the initial crash, Hyundai's system detects the occupants' position, which is often not a standard seating position due to the first impact. The secondary system deploys quicker than the initial airbag system, and Hyundai worked to fine-tune collision intensity needed for deployment. Basically, the airbags will go off if and when they do not deploy on the first impact, and that secondary response is quicker than the initial airbag deployment would have been. As a result, the system can help keep occupants safe after the first impact.
Hyundai said multi-collision crashes are more common than many think, and it's important to highlight safety after the initial impact. The leading kind of multi-collision crashes are cars crossing over the center line, which can send either vehicle careening toward another car or object. Other prevalent instances are sudden stops at toll booths, highway median crashes, and drivers who sideswipe polls or trees.
The automaker didn't provide a date for when we'll see the system launch, but it will make its way to future Hyundai and Kia vehicles.
The latest airbag system also follows the introduction of the automaker's panorama sunroof airbags. Just as it sounds, the airbag deploys to cover almost the entire open portion of a panoramic sunroof if the system detects a rollover crash. The airbag prevents ejection from the car should the vehicle roll over and provides a buffer in the event of such a crash.