Safety systems supplier Autoliv has three significant new systems on production vehicles: active pedestrian protection, head-protector airbags for convertibles and night vision.
European legislation has hastened the development of pedestrian-protection systems across the industry and Autolivs active hood is a significant innovation.
Jaguars new XK luxury sports car will be Europes first application of a pop-up hood system on a volume production car. Autolivs patented solution uses sensors in the front bumper that can distinguish between a pedestrians leg and other structures.
Within 60 milliseconds to 70 milliseconds after the leg hits the bumper, gas generators based on airbag technology inflate steel bellows that pop the hood 10cm higher. Scheduled commercial availability is March 2006.
A system developed specifically for Volvos new C70 convertible is Autolivs special airbag system. It is designed to protect in oblique side impacts where conventional extended chest-protection airbags are too narrow and not rigid enough.
The new system has a three-layer airbag woven like a honeycomb to provide the right energy absorption plus positional security similar to a side-curtain airbag in a conventional closed vehicle. The system will appear later on other convertibles.
BMW is the first automaker to use Autolivs far-infrared night-vision system. Using a thermal imaging camera, the system can illuminate pedestrians, animals and other heat-emitting objects up to 300 meters ahead of the vehicle. In the BMW the image is displayed on the iDrive monitor on the dashboard. Autoliv claims it is especially effective on motorways or long stretches of unlit road. Initially, the system will appear on the top 7 series range.