Many premium brands, including Mercedes, are choosing to use pop-up hoods, because they reduce head injuries by 30 percent, according to industry experts.
Media reports say that the next Mercedes E class, due later this year, will have a hood that pops up 50mm in the event of an accident with a cyclist or pedestrian. To meet EU standards, there must be a total of 80mm between the hood and the hard, injury-causing components under it.
The E class will join the Jaguar XK and XF, Citroen C6, Honda Legend and BMW 7 series as models with pop-up hoods. The XK and XF have systems from Autoliv. The Honda Legends system was designed in-house. The C6s system comes from French conglomerate SPRIA with help from sensor supplier ACTS.
The hoods are costly because they need a pyrotechnic system to get them to rise as well as electronic sensors that use complex detection software to calculate when to activate the hood.
Such software and detection systems account for half the cost of an active-hood system, Autoliv spokesman Hendrik Kar said.
Suppliers and automakers declined to reveal the price of an active hood system, but industry sources say that they cost the automaker between 350 and 500 a car.
CSM Worldwide analyst Richard Buitendijk said he expects the systems will remain mostly on high-end cars because of their cost.
Autoliv expects the cost of active hood to fall once pyrotechnic activation systems can be replaced by a simpler spring systems.