Let the Apple Car rumors roll on. Apple has filed for a patent (number 10,919,482) for an”airbag-based occupant safety system.”
In the patent filing, the tech giant notes that existing occupant safety systems for traditional, one- two- or three-row vehicles, such as restraints including seatbelts and airbags, can reduce the risk of injury during a collision. Vehicular airbags often use interior components such as dash panels, roof rails, and steering wheels both for packaging purposes and to provide reaction surfaces to interact with the airbags to produce the necessary reaction force.
However, in the absence of adequate reaction surfaces or tethers, airbags may deflect too much to adequately protect an occupant during a collision. Apple also notes that, in non-traditional vehicle designs, for example, where rows of occupants face each other within the passenger compartment or where the vehicle is designed without roof rails, there are limited options for reaction surfaces and tethers. Apple says that “new approaches to airbag-based occupant safety systems are thus desired.”
Here’s the summary of the patent filing: “Occupant safety systems suitable for use in both traditional and opposed seating systems include various combinations of passive safety components: sensors that provide an output signal indicative of an imminent collision, inflatable restraints that deploy from opposing interior surfaces of a passenger compartment of a vehicle based on the output signal, and inflators disposed within door cavities that selectively inflate an airbag or vent the inflator to an exterior of a vehicle based on the output signal.”