A Suite of New Airbag Designs for Ford
September 16, 2010
When the all-new 2012 Ford Focus arrives on dealer showrooms, it will offer an exclusive suite of innovative airbags that help customize protection in the most common frontal and side crashes. Specifically, Ford is introducing next-generation driver-side, front passenger and side airbags.
The suite of new innovations includes next-generation driver-side airbag with enhanced chest protection technology. The new airbag uses a reconfigured curve-shaped tether system that pulls in the lower section to create a pocket to help lessen the impact of the airbag on the driver’s chest and ribs in frontal crashes. Click here to watch a video that demonstrates the new airbag design.
Side airbags feature unique shoulder vents that stay open and reduce pressure for smaller occupants who typically benefit from reduced forces. Taller occupants whose shoulders block the vent could benefit from the higher pressures.
Focus also will be the first Ford car ever to feature front passenger airbags with adaptive venting technology that diverts some of the gas from the airbag inflators through vents outside of the airbags. The restraints control module – the control center of the Ford advanced safety systems – adjusts the level of venting based on seat position.
The new passenger airbag is designed to help enhance head and neck protection by better matching deployment force with occupant size. This system uses a small pyrotechnic device to force open the vent and can provide less pressure in the airbag when it’s sufficient to help protect the occupant.
The next-generation airbags will debut as standard equipment on the all-new Ford Focus on sale early in 2011 in North America. The new airbags will roll out on other Ford vehicles in the next few years.
In addition to the new airbags, the vehicle structure of the new Focus provides enhanced crash protection as well as improved vehicle dynamics.
High-strength steels comprise 55 percent of the body shell, and ultra-high-strength and boron steels make up more than 31 percent of its skeletal structure. These advanced materials help the structure meet crash regulations across world markets, while minimizing the vehicle’s weight to help maximize fuel economy.
Ford was the first automaker to begin airbag research five decades ago. It fielded an airbag test fleet in 1971, offered a driver-side airbag in 1985 and standardized driver and front passenger airbags in most vehicles by 1993. In recent years, Ford has introduced a variety of crash protection systems – ranging from canopy airbags to knee bolsters – designed to improve occupant protection. Ford has the most Top Safety Picks from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety of any automaker.
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