Ford debuts innovative new airbag design

Engineers at Ford in Cologne have unveiled an innovative new vehicle airbag, which instead of being mounted in the instrument panel, is integrated within the lid of the glove box, thus avoiding the need for a separate knee airbag.

Unlike a conventional textile device, the technology, which has been introduced on the new Ford Mustang, is made from injection moulded plastic and sandwiched between the outer and inner glove box lid surfaces.

Ford's new airbag is mounted in the glove compartment
Ford’s new airbag is mounted in the glove compartment

In the event of a collision, a tiny gas generator inside the glove box lid inflates the bladder in just 20 milliseconds, pushing the lid exterior outwards to provide leg protection.

Ford claims that the despite being smaller and lighter than existing devices the new system offers comparable protection.

“With this design we were able to combine the functions of two separate parts into one single part to save on space, weight and components; and move the instrument panel further forward, ensuring there was more room for the front passenger.” said Ford restraints manager Sean West.

“Our glove box airbag opens up a whole new world of possibilities for injection-moulded plastic airbags. The glove box airbag could be just the beginning,” West added.