Honda Motor Co Ltd exhibited an air bag for compact scooters at Honda Meeting 2017, which the company had to show its technologies from June 5 to 7, 2017.
Honda is developing the air bag in collaboration with Autoliv Inc, a supplier of safety systems. The air bag protects the head of a motorbike driver when, for example, the motorbike crashes into the side of a car. Honda aims to commercialize it at an early day in the aim of reducing the number of casualties from motorbike accidents.
The deployment mechanism of the air bag is the same as that of car air bags. When an acceleration sensor embedded in the front side of a motorbike detects the impact of a crash, the air bag deploys between the driver and the vehicle that the motorbike crashed into, reducing the impact on the head. It deploys in 0.04-0.05 seconds.
In the case of car air bags, at the time of a collision, the steering wheel, instrument panel, door, etc function as the supporting member of the air bag and protect the driver from the impact of the collision.
On the other hand, in the case of the new air bag, the car into which the motorbike crashes functions as the supporting member of the air bag. In an experiment in which a motorbike ridden by a dummy crashed into a parked car at a speed of 50km/h (approx 31mph), it was found that the air bag can drastically reduce the impact on the head.
The effect of the new air bag decreases when there is no supporter of the air bag (e.g. when the motorbike toppled after the driver tries to avoid a head-on crash or crash into a car).
"In many sudden motorbike accidents, a motorbike crashes into the side of a car," Honda said. "So, the air bag can contribute to reducing the number of casualties."