With rapid expansion of the global automotive landscape, manufacturers are primarily focused on enhancing engineering fuel and cost efficiency, improving driving experience, and working towards the overall safety of passengers and drivers. In the automotive sector, airbags remain a key passive safety systems. Moreover, as vehicle safety is foremost in everyone’s mind, the automotive airbag market is expected to witness robust growth in years to come. Nowadays, a growing number of road accidents have led to increased adoption of airbags in vehicles. In order to minimize the fatality rates during road accidents, governments have taken various actions such as to ensure that airbags and seat-belts are fitted in all new vehicle models. One such mandatory regulation was announced by the Government of India, effective from 1st July 2019. According to the regulation, it will be mandatory for all new cars to be well-equipped with a driver-side airbag, speed warning systems, seat belt reminder, and rear parking sensors. As airbags become a standard feature, manufactures and suppliers are rigorously working on setting their products apart from the competition.
Automotive Airbags: Nylon Makes a Difference
Nylon-based airbag is poised to experience significant demand in the near future. The market for nylon-based airbag remains largely driven by several benefits of the fabric, such as high specific heat capacity, lower density, and better impact resistance. Initially, most passenger-airbags were only made from polyester. In recent times, in drive for lighter weight enabling more flexibility in design, manufacturers use nylon in small percentage along with polyester airbags that are relatively light and has good dimensional stability even at humid environmental conditions. Additionally, manufacturers are focusing on developing nylon-based fabrics coated with organic silicon instead of neoprene, as these coated fabrics have longer service life, stable performance, high wear resistance, and are lightweight.
Smart and In-seat Airbags Set to Mark Promising Trends
New developments and innovation are forthcoming to enhance efficiency and widen production capabilities of airbags. For instance, Asahi Kasei, a Japanese technology group, is set to launch a cloth sewing program for airbags at Asahi Kasei Advance Vietnam in its Vietnamese subsidiary in 2020. This investment will enable the company to enter the next phase of value chain in the airbag industry. The company will incrementally raise 2.5 million pieces per year until 2022, followed by 5 million pieces per year in the coming years. Asahi Kasei Group provides the airbag manufacturers with filament made of Leona PA 66 yarn. This step taken by the company will be marked as an expansion in the airbag-related business and a step-up in the value chain.
Market leaders are continuously working towards the development of better quality airbags to reduce road accident fatalities. Strong focus has also been placed on expanding production capacities, establishing new entities, and introducing enhanced product portfolio.
Some of the latest development in the automotive airbag market are listed below:
- Honda Announces New Passenger Front Airbag Design
In August 2019, Honda Motor Company Ltd., proclaimed the advancement of an innovative commuter front airbag technology intended to protect the occupants from traffic injuries and all-encompassing frontal collision fatalities such as angled crashes between vehicles or another object with a vehicle. Honda will implement this design in advanced airbags to new products in 2020. The company’s future-generation airbag is structured to bring down the probable injuries that can happen in the wider-range of anterior impacts. This development is particularly beneficial in angled frontal impacts that can severely injure the occupant’s head, increasing the chance of serious injury. New airbag technology by Honda showcases the effort towards advanced safety performance and reflects innovative thinking of real-world crash events along with testing and research conducted by Honda.
- Autoliv Declares its Breakthrough with E-Scooter Airbag
In January 2020, Autoliv Inc., a global leader in vehicle safety systems, stated that it has successfully completed the first unique crash test with airbags for e-scooters. When society is evolving to new ways of mobility and the world where there are too many casualties in the transport system, Autoliv Inc., is finding new solutions to make the journey safer for the driver and passenger. Moreover, the tested concept airbag for scooters will complement – Pedestrian Protection Airbag, PPA, which was previously introduced by Autoliv. While e-scooter airbag is mounted on the scooter, the PPA is attached to the vehicle and deploys along with the windshield or A-pillar area. This is the first-ever bag to be deployed on the outside of the vehicle. This airbag offers increased protection for drivers of scooter, particularly in the case of a head-to-head collision with a vehicle.
- ZF Develops New Type of In-Seat Airbag
In July 2019, ZF Friedrichshafen, a German car parts manufacturer developed external smart airbags for vehicles that reduce the impact of the crash and decreases damage to the occupants. The manufacturer recently tested the smart airbag, it deploys once it senses an oncoming impact. This airbag is a frontier for the industry as it equipped with a predictive crash sensing and a cornerstone for autonomous vehicles in the near future.
- Bosch Airbag Technology Uses Explosion to Cut Risk of EV
With growing number of electric vehicles on the road, many drivers are increasingly uncertain to react in the event of collision. Recently, Bosch demonstrated microchip that helps prevent the risk of electric shock after an accident. It also integrates airbag system IC, airbag sensor that detects the impact – measuring not more than 10 millimeters and weighing just a few grams – trigger the pyrofuse. By cutting off the flow of current, the risk of electric shock or fire is reduced.