Occupant safety has reached new heights in the last few years and while we get to know a whole lot about the measures in place as far as passenger cars are concerned, there seems little progress in the commercial vehicle space. But it isn’t so and this most recent adaptation of airbags comes as quite the revelation in terms of avoiding fatal injuries to drivers of big rigs and the likes.
Conventional airbag technology may or may not work as efficiently in a large cabin such as that of a truck but a team from IVECO has come up with a novel way of getting round that problem – with the help of an unlikely source. It seems almost ironic that occupant safety on some of the biggest vehicles on our roads is now inspired by safety suits from some of the smallest vehicles out there – motorcycles! A few years back, motorcycle safety gear manufacturer Dainese came up with airbag technology for riders and today it is actively being used in the highest forms of motorcycle racing.
Valentino Rossi, Nicky Hayden, Stefan Bradl and many more go racing wearing Dainese suits equipped with the patented D-air system which is essentially a set of airbags that deploy around the suit using high pressure cold gas technology in the event of a crash thereby cushioning the rider’s impact.
In collaboration with IVECO, Dainese has now incorporated the same technology into key elements of commercial vehicles such as the seats. The thought is simple – the airbags deploy upon collision and form a protective cocoon around the occupant but the advantages are immense.
Since the D-air system was initially designed to be integrated into motorcycle suits, it is extremely light, deploys faster and allows the airbags to assume shapes that minimise bulk yet optimize ergonomics around the body. The system is currently being put to use for heavy vehicles and light vehicles but the possibilities are endless. Imagine every seat in a school bus fitted with the system and you immediately understand how effective the technology can be in the event of a mishap. With such flexibility of use and savings in terms of weight and bulk, we could even see this technology line up the seats in our cars soon.
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