Hyundai debuts what it calls the first system that significantly improves airbag performance in multi-collision accidents.
These are the 30% of accidents that involve a primary impact followed by collisions with secondary objects such as trees, utility poles or other vehicles.
Airbag systems do not offer secondary protection when the initial impact doesn’t cause them to deploy. Hyundai says its multi-collision system allows the devices to deploy effectively upon a secondary impact by calibrating the status of the vehicle and the occupants.
The technology detects occupant position in the cabin after the initial collision. Hyundai says when occupants end up in unusual positions, the effectiveness of existing safety technology may be compromised.
Multi-collision airbag systems are designed to deploy even faster when initial safety systems may not be effective.
Hyundai Chassis Technology Center head Taesoo Chi says by recalibrating the collision intensity required for deployment, the airbag system responds faster during the secondary impacts.
Statistics from the National Automotive Sampling System Crashworthiness Data System, an office of the National Highway Traffic Safety Admin., show about 30% of the 56,000 vehicle crashes from 2000 to 2012 in North America involved multi-collisions.
The leading type of multi-collision accidents involved cars crossing the center line (30.8%), followed by sudden stops at highway tollgates (13.5%), highway median strip collisions (8.0%) and sideswiping and collision with trees and electric poles (4.0%).
Hyundai says it analyzed numerous multi-collision scenarios to improve airbag performance and precision in secondary collisions. It says it will introduce the system in new Hyundai and Kia vehicles, but gives no start date.