As a way to prevent pedestrian injuries and fatalities, General Motors is taking the steps to protect anyone who might be hit by a vehicle.
According to USA Today, GM received a patent in December that will allow them to create a pedestrian airbag. The airbag would be placed on the outside of the vehicle to offer protection to the pedestrian that might have been hit by the car. In March, the Governors Highway Safety Association said that the number of pedestrians killed from being hit jumped from 11% to almost 6,000 in 2016. It was the largest rise in the number of deaths in a single year.
Maeva Ribas, manager of design analysis at The Carlab, says that it isn’t the initial impact that is most likely to kill a pedestrian. What kills them is the secondary impact when they pass over the vehicle’s hood and hit the roof. GM has already taken the steps to prevent fatalities by filling out the necessary paperwork with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. They also included 90 sketched ideas with their paperwork.
The airbag would be placed in the fender area, adjacent to the hood, to provide the pedestrian with protection from the front area of the vehicle. At this time, the company declines to discuss any additional details on how the airbag would change injury risk. They also did not state how the airbag would be triggered to release upon impact. For now, however, we do know for certain that GM is doing what they can to reinvent vehicle safety.
General Motors brought in a total of 9.8 million vehicle sales in 2015, and their success continues. Dave Sullivan, product analysis manager at AutoPacific, commented on the company’s future.
“GM is looking at the big picture,” Sullivan said. “The company has made a big deal about some of their small cars having 10 airbags to prove they’re safer, (which) break the stereotype of small cars not being safe. GM continues to implement airbag technology in ways we haven’t seen from other automakers.”
The airbag patent was among 80 others GM received in December. Some of the granted patents had been pending for years.