Airbag Safety System With Ears!

by : Freddic

Till the time new age automobile safety systems, such as intelligent highways become common, a lot of innovations to improve automobile safety rely on making the existing safety systems more effective and efficient.

With the talks of encouraging stronger car roofs, and news of putting air bags on the outside, this year's Bavarian Innovation Prize winner seems to have taken a leap ahead to enhance passenger safety by a good margin. The award was jointly received by the international automotive supplier Continental and the Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences.

The prestigious award went to the innovation called the "structure-borne sound airbag." Not only does this innovation promise to effectively sense an impact but it can also "hear," the sound of impact. This additional functionally aides the device to react quickly and intelligently. Precisely, the system promises up to 50% faster firing times for air bags.

The system with ears is based on the technology called Crash Impact Sound Sensing (CISS). The research on the technology was carried out at the Institute for Applied Research (IAF) at Ingolstadt University of Applied Sciences for several years.

How it Works?

The whole process of triggering air bags can be thought of to occur in two phases. The first is the detection of danger and the next step calls for the system to decide on what action to take?

The CISS works by hearing the danger as it approaches. It can detect both the accident as well as its severity from the typical structure-borne sound produced by the impact. Further, it can even differentiate much more quickly and more reliably between varied crash situations.

The second critical component of the cycle is to make a quick decision on release of the airbags. During serious accidents, the airbag safety system must decide within fractions of a second. For a typical frontal collision, the system has anywhere between 10 and 40 milliseconds to decide. The system's got to make a choice whether the airbags have to be triggered? Or are the airbags not needed at all, because the other elements, such as the crumple zone and safety automotive accessories viz. seat belts would suffice, etc.

The vehicle's rate of deceleration provides the necessary input to the system, and this information is then fed into the central airbag control unit (ACU) for analysis, all of which happens in a matter of milliseconds. The whole system has been integrated into a single high-performance sensor.

The structure-borne sound is produced when the vehicle deforms. During a crash, the sound is transmitted through the front longitudinal members of the chassis and frame, or the body shell's "railway lines," to the central control unit.

It's exciting to see automotive research geared towards making promising advancements in automobile safety with seemingly simple, yet highly effective tweaks here and there.