Car News

Hyundai Announces New Multi-Collision Airbag System

Hyundai has just announced a new safety system that can help protect you from the second bang. The one that comes after that big collision. It's a new multi-collision airbag system the company says is a world's first.

Hyundai says that 30 percent of crashes are what it calls "multi-collision accidents." That's when the primary impact is followed up by another one. Think when a car is hit by another car, and then veers off into a lamp post or a rock, or a third car. Current airbag systems don't always offer protection on the secondary impact, even if the primary impact wasn't great enough to set them off, the automaker said.

The new system works in a couple of ways. First, it detects where occupants are after the first crash. If it was a big hit, you've probably shifted around inside the car. That can compromise existing safety tech, Hyundai said. Then it recalculates the amount of force needed in a secondary impact to best protect the now shifted passengers. That lets it react more appropriately to that second impact.

As an example, let's say a car is rear-ended. That impact probably didn't trigger the airbags, especially because it came from behind. Then, because of that impact, that car is forced into a tree beside the road. The new Hyundai system will recalculate that because you are now in a different position in the car, it needs to react more quickly when the car hits that tree. Or maybe more slowly. It does so, and that could mean a reduced chance of injury from the second impact.

"By improving airbag performance in multi-collision scenarios, we expect to significantly improve the safety of our drivers and passengers,” said Taesoo Chi, head of Hyundai's Chassis Technology Center.

The company is expecting to roll the new tech into future Hyundai and Kia vehicles.