back to article Volvo claims V40 is first car with an airbag for pedestrians

Volvo has devised an automobile airbag for pedestrians. The car company is building the new tech into its V40. Sensors detect the impact, and a control unit works out whether the signals they're sending indicate that the car has collided with a person. Volvo V40 pedestrian airbag If it thinks that's the case, it deploys the …


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  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Good idea

    That's a really smart idea, I wonder if they'll patent it - Volvo didn't patent the inertia reel seatbelt because they thought it was a sufficiently important safety device.

    Ford, however, did patent heated windscreens, another safety device...

    1. Frostbite

      Chicken / Egg

      I'm sure Ford own Volvo, so will they / won't they patent it?

      1. Frostbite
        Thumb Down

        Re: Stir Fried Chicken / Egg Foo Yung

        No, just checked, like most things these days it's now owned by the Chinese (Geely Automobile)

    2. Vic

      Re: Good idea

      > That's a really smart idea, I wonder if they'll patent it


      There's prior art - Jaguar won a safety award back in 2006 for exactly this idea.

      See, for example, this page for info.


      1. Eddy Ito Silver badge

        Re: Good idea

        "There's prior art - Jaguar won a safety award back in 2006 for exactly this idea."

        So there's a 90% chance it can be patented in the US given the current "grant it and let the courts find out if it's valid" system.

        -- patent troll

  2. Tony Barnes


    Presumably this will add a decent amount of cost to the price of the car - will people actually want to foot the bill?

    Nice design/implementation though

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    and above 31mph

    it shoots up a body bag and dials-a-morgue

    1. Jon Massey
      Thumb Up

      Re: and above 31mph

      Not always, I took an Audi R6 to the head at 45ish and lived to tell the tale!

      1. Silverburn

        Re: and above 31mph

        @ Jon

        Is your nickname woody woodpecker by any chance?

      2. I think so I am?

        Re: and above 31mph

        I used to be an Olympic runner, until I took a Volvo to the Knee.

  4. Tapeador

    It's not going to work

    For the cars of the dickheads who drive everywhere at 31 plus.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not going to work

      And since it's a volvo, that means its not going to work. Full stop

    2. This post has been deleted by its author

    3. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: It's not going to work

      i hope they do in a 40mph zone

  5. Graham Bartlett

    Not really news

    A quick Google says that Ford were talking about this in 2002, and that Citroen and Jag both had them in their cars in 2006. Whether you do this with an airbag or by some other means is irrelevant really - the impact is taken by the thin metal of the bonnet ("hood" for our US friends) and not by the airbag.

    1. twaffler

      Re: Not really news

      Sadly your google-fu is lacking.

      A pop-up bonnet is not the same as an airbag covering the lower part of the windscreen and A pillar area. The pop-up bonnet is a specific solution for some cars which do not have enough space between the bonnet metal and hard engine-bay structures (e.g. suspension turrets) to protect a pedestrian's head in this type of impact.

      The airbag is designed to protect the pedestrian's head should they be unlucky enough to be at risk of hitting it on the base of the windscreen or A-pillars, a pop-up bonnet doesn't do that.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    New bonnet cost

    Does the pedestrian have to pay for the replacement and re-arming of the system? Otherwise it's just an incentive to keep ignoring the traffic.

    1. I think so I am?

      Re: New bonnet cost

      or to kick the front end of volvo's in hope it deploys the air bag.

  7. Chris Miller

    In the US, with its less densely packed streets

    Should read: In the US, where there are almost no pedestrians (unless you count the bit between car park and mall).


    1. I think so I am?

      Re: In the US, with its less densely packed streets

      Don't most US pedestrians have built in air bags ?

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Re: In the US, with its less densely packed streets

        > Don't most US pedestrians have built in air bags ?

        Fewer than half of them do, and then it's of the Bulgarian variety.

  8. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where's the fuse?

    I'd turn that off in a flash. If someone walks out in front of me I don't want my car wrecked thank you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Where's the fuse?

      WTF? Impact Trigger. ie It's too Late already.

      You'd rather have a smashed hood AND windscreen rather than just a Hood and replacement Airbag? ie probably cheaper!

      So I guess we just hope the dude whose having the coronary, and swerves on to your yard and takes you out has done the same yeah...

      1. Figgus

        Re: Where's the fuse?

        You'd rather have a smashed hood AND windscreen rather than just a Hood and replacement Airbag? ie probably cheaper

        Actually it is cheaper to replace a windshield than a "normal" interior airbag. How much more do you suppose this custom exterior airbag will cost to replace?

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: Where's the fuse?

          Perhaps you should look at the price of structural windscreens again. Working in insurance I know that we have recently had to increase our windscreen cover from £500 to £1000 to cover modern standard fitted screens.

    2. sabroni Silver badge

      Re: Where's the fuse?

      Seriously? you'd rather kill someone that have to get your car fixed?

    3. Fuzz

      Re: Where's the fuse?

      rather than turning it off you could just not run people over, that would work.

  9. Anonymous Custard Silver badge


    The mental image that first crossed my mind on seeing that photo was of it triggering, rotating the bonnet up and promptly flinging the pedestrian spreadeagled across it back into the air and down directly in front of the car ready to be run over (especially as with the deployed airbag and raised bonnet the driver's vision will be impaired, not to mention it'll probably scare the <beep> out of them).

    I've obviously been watching too much Roadrunner & Wile E Coyote lately...

  10. auburnman

    I wonder

    How sensitive it is? I wouldn't fancy being in one of those cars if it went off from animal roadkill or debris in the road - from the photo it looks like it totally blinds the driver.

    1. Ralph B
      Thumb Up

      Re: I wonder

      > it looks like it totally blinds the driver.

      So it should stop hit-and-runs then. Another win!

  11. Miek


    1. Miek

      Bouncy carstle?

      1. LaeMing Silver badge

        Do a bonnet-roll.

  12. cephalopod

    Negative negative

    Manufacturers of modern cars include sensors and automatic braking for impending collisions between certain speeds. Volvo's is called CitySafe - so on impact, one would assume the car will automatically brake to a halt... no need to see out at this point?

    Again, modern car bonnets (hoods) are made purposefully to crumple and absorb impact, so once a pedestrian collides with it - it's already knackered, so the addition of an airbag won't affect that... in fact, it might prevent further damage if the pedestrian proceeds to impact with the windscreen?

    Someone will have to pay though - generally these features are extras and chargeable to the consumer. A revelation like this should be encouraged in some fashion as an EU safety programme perhaps?

    I say well done Volvo!

  13. This Side Up

    Volvo drivers

    Say no more.

  14. 0laf Silver badge

    How much?

    So how much is this going to cost me when some little shoite runs up and thumps the front of my car with a stick then fecks off? Quite a frickin bit I bet!

    The Nissan GTR has this system with a massive cost if it goes off. To the point where I've now read that owners are buying parts to disable the pedestrian safety features.

    Pass the bull bars thank you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: How much?

      The GTR system is a bit different its not an airbag, it's just designed to raise the rear of the hood, the force can break the screen and scuttle though, very expensive, and very low misfire rate, easy answer is just don't hit pedestrians.

    2. Steven Roper

      Re: How much?

      "To the point where I've now read that owners are buying parts to disable the pedestrian safety features."

      And I'd like to see anyone who does that and subsequently kills someone, charged with murder - not manslaughter - because such an act is a deliberate and pre-meditated action intended to take a life in order to save the selfish bastard behind the wheel a bit of money.

      Minimum mandatory sentence of 25 years, too. Is that worth saving a couple of grand to you?

  15. ignominius

    I think the French got there first!

    I think you'll find the French developed a system way back in the 1960's and 70's. The French car maker Citroen had a system called the 2CV which was made from a soft metallic compound that bent on impact leaving the pedestrian, dog or fly, completely unscathed.

    1. Mr Young

      Re: I think the French got there first!

      "soft metallic compound"? Best description of a French car ever!

    2. NogginTheNog

      Re: I think the French got there first!

      Also 2CVs could barely do much more than 31mph, another inherent safety feature* :-)

      * Before you all jump on me, j'aime les Deux Cheveaux!

  16. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge


    You could teach captain Volvo not to deliberately crash into everything on 2wheels

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward


    What percentage of those 13-31mph pedestrian impacts are actually the driver's fault rather than the pedestrian walking straight out in front without looking? I've been in cars that have hit pedestrians twice (not me driving either time) and both times it has clearly been the pedestrian's fault for stepping out without looking (one darted out from between parked cars, the other one stepped out backwards from the kerbside whilst still talking to his mate in the doorway of the pub he had just left!) so close that braking was futile (about 1.5-2m or so in front at about 20-30mph in both cases). Both cases caused significant distress to the the drivers. One incident resulted in hundreds of pounds of damage which had to be paid for by the owner when the car came off worse than the pedestrian. Even if you have fully comp insurance, your premium will go through the roof once you've claimed for replacing one of these.

    So why should I get this and have to pay out even more for airbag replacement to protect dumb pedestrians from the consequences of their own actions?

    A new windscreen is much cheaper and can be replaced there and then by the roadside by autoglass/whoever - I bet this can't so instead of going on to your final destination you're probably going to have to get towed because you won't be able to see where you're going with an airbag in the way...

    AC because advocating natural selection is out of fashion...

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      both times it has clearly been the pedestrian's fault

      Maybe when the one darted out from between parked cars but most certainly not the one coming out backwards from the pub. A competent driver should have identified the hazard and adjusted their speed ready to stop.

  18. Charlie's Butt

    Electric Cars

    I can see this being a vital component if and when electric cars become commonplace. I've seen many pedestrians working on the 'can't hear anything so it must be safe to cross' principle.

  19. Mr Young

    Aye, China

    1st time I arrived there (and within the hour) I saw a poor guy brained and very dead looking on the road. I'm not gonna forget that I guess.

  20. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm *REALLY* going to enjoy commuting into London on a motorbike if everyone has to have these. No more gestures or collecting wing mirrors or trying to explain that actually I am in the right according to some aspect of the highway code through a window when some roadrage tosser goes off on one, now when someone tries to kill me to save 0.00001 second of time to get to work or (more often) just for fun with that stupid grin on their face while they're doing it , I can just slap the bonnet while they slow for the lights and make my escape through the traffic!

    1. TeeCee Gold badge

      A particularly enjoyable moment for me was when the driver of a BMW 3-series decided he had had enough of sitting in the traffic queue and would turn right. Suddenly. Without indicating. Just as I was about to pass on the outside.

      After a fairly controlled slide, I ended up at about 45 degrees with my wheels under his sill, all without actually makinig contact.

      He started to lower his window:


      "Er, why not?"

      <Flips up visor> "'Cos if you do, I'm going to pull you out through it, rip your fucking arms off and beat you to death with the soggy ends!"

      He raised his window, I extricated the machine and continued on my merry way while speculating at length on his parentage and striking similarity to various genitalia.

  21. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Wrong approach

    This is unrealistic and counter productive IMO. If Volvo wants to reduce pedestrian accidents they should use a 50 KV discharge system like a bug zapper that extends 3 meters in front of the car. If 50KV doesn't cause a pedestrian to jump back, it's better to terminate them once and for all so that they don't become a chronic blight on society.

    1. Antoine Dubuc

      Re: Wrong approach

      No, no. Air bag first, then the car tase them, for good measure.

  22. mhenriday

    When Volve comes up with an airbag

    which might be of aid to us cyclists when we are targeted by drivers whose homicidal tendencies become all too evident whenever they get behind the wheel of a motor car, I shalll celebrate the news. Hope Hard Reg will keep us informed !...


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