TRW demos advanced adaptive side airbag, roof airbag

December 04, 2012 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
At the International Symposium on Sophisticated Car Occupant Safety Systems in Karlsruhe (Germany), automotive tier one TRW is exhibiting a range of technologies and concepts aiming at enhancing the protection of occupants in the event of a collision. The innovation focuses on improvements for rear seat passengers.

At the symposium, TRW unveiled an adaptive side airbag technology. The airbags feature a 'flexi adaptive vent' which can help to enhance the protection of occupants according to different crash severities.

Adaptive occupant safety technologies began with the introduction of dual stage inflators over a decade ago and have progressed to include factors such as deployment force, bag geometry, stiffness and shape as the bag deploys. TRW’s latest generation of adaptive side airbags now can adjust restraint performance according to parameters such as the speed and force of the crash.

With the side airbag system, a tether mechanism inside the airbag closes the vent during a more severe crash where the intrusion level on the side of the vehicle is typically greater. This helps to maintain pressure in the airbag for longer and thus absorb more energy during a high severity impact. It also helps to reduce the probability of ‘bottoming out’ between the door trim and the occupant, the company said.

Adaptive side airbags will be ready for production in 2013, TRW estimates.

The Occupant protection for drivers and passengers has improved significantly in previous years, mainly as a result of regulatory changes and greater demands from New Car Assessment Program (NCAP) ratings. However, the level and sophistication of available features on front and rear seats can differ on many vehicles. This situation, however, will change insofar as new NCAP ratings schemes planned for introduction in 2015 will focus more stringently on rear seat safety for a wider range of occupant sizes, said Dirk Schultz, engineering director, TRW Inflatable Restraint Systems. These schemes will also take in account the situation of older and larger children who use booster seats (Q6 and Q10 child dummies), as well as smaller and lighter adults (HIII 5% dummies).

At the show, TRW is exhibiting several solutions including its Active Buckle Lifter (ABL) seat belt system which can help occupants to fasten their seat