Volvo has always been known as an innovator when it comes to driver safety and now this commercial car builder is also creating technology designed to protect pedestrians. According to recent reports, more than 47,700 pedestrians were killed and more than 688,000 were injured last year in collisions with automobiles. In an effort to decrease these numbers, Volvo introduced the world’s first pedestrian airbag system last week at the Geneva Motor Show.
The 2013 Volvo V40 features sensors in the front bumper to detect physical contact between the car and a pedestrian. The airbag is positioned beneath the hood at the base of the windshield. When sensors in the front bumper register contact between the car and a pedestrian, the rear end of the hood closest to the windshield is released and simultaneously elevated by the inflated airbag. The airbag covers approximately one third of the windshield and is designed to decrease the severity of pedestrian injuries.
Volvo has also installed a sensor to detect traffic from the sides of the car when in tight areas like a parking garage and another senor that applies brakes automatically if a driver does not respond to a pedestrian that walks into the driver’s path. Other safety innovations that Volvo was the first to offer to its customers were the three-point safety belt, safety glass, and passenger compartment steel safety cage.