Auto seat actuators reduce injuriesWith the North American International Auto Show running full tilt in Detroit right now, most announcements coming from the event are about the latest models or retro concept cars debuting at the show. But within the barrage of media coverage is news of safety improvements thanks to electronics developments
One such comes from Johnson Controls, which is showcasing active head restraints and an anti-submarining seat design, both of which are activated electrically just prior to a crash. Previous active head restraints relied on the impact acceleration on the occupant's body to mechanically leverage the headrest forward to mitigate injury. In one form of Johnson's new seat, electronic signals from the car's crash sensors trigger head-restraint deployment. In its other configuration, the acceleration on the body will trigger the restraint.
Submarining occurs if a seat occupant slides under a seatbelt during impact. The Johnson Controls seat has an "active ramp" at the front of the seat pan. During a head-on impact, the ramp will quickly rise and the bar in the front section of the seat limits an occupant's forward movement. Risk of the passenger's knees hitting the dash is reduced, along with seatbelt forces on the body.
Both safety systems will be available for 2009 model year cars.