TMC lessens impact pain

Toyota Motor Corporation (TMC) has developed the Active Headrest, a new head restraint that reduces the stress on the neck during low-speed, rear impacts. TMC plans to introduce the head restraint shortly, starting with new vehicle models.

The Active Headrest is an extension of the Whiplash Injury Lessening (WIL) concept seat, in which the seatback and head restraint simultaneously cushion the head and lower back to reduce stress on the neck.

Specifically, when the occupant’s back presses against the seatback during a rear-end collision, a built-in lower unit triggers the head restraint to move diagonally upward. This action catches the back of the occupant’s head, reducing the risk of whiplash injury sustained by the neck upon collision.

Toyota concedes that results will differ according to the physique, position and posture of the occupant inside the vehicle; however, in-house testing of the Active Headrest showed that it reduced the severity of whiplash injury by 10-20 per cent on the company’s neck injury evaluation index compared with the traditional WIL concept seat.