In today’s vehicles, conventional front and side airbags in the interior are deployed when the pressure and/or acceleration sensors detect a certain collision. The new pre-crash system, in contrast, makes the decision of whether to deploy the external airbag prior to the collision. This can only happen, however, if the car has a reliable accident prediction system.
A sensor system – i.e. a network of cameras, lidar and radar – therefore tirelessly keep watch for potential threats and dangers. The algorithms employed by the system can determine how each threat is to be assessed – for example, whether a collision is unavoidable and whether the external airbag can and should then be deployed. If the system decides that this is indeed the case, it ignites the inflators to fill the airbag.
“It takes around 150 milliseconds for the pre-crash system to make a decision and take the measures necessary”, explains Class. “This is the blink of an eye prior to the accident that we use to help significantly reduce the risk of injury to passengers.” The pre-crash safety system can reduce the impacting vehicle or object penetrating the car body by up to 30 percent, thereby helping to reduce the injury severity to passengers by up to 40 percent.