First practical tests Utrecht and Den Haag on road to cyclist airbag
Research institute TNO is setting up a Sensor Field Test as a first step on the road to an airbag that may save cyclists’ lives. For one year five service cars of a telecoms company will be traversing the busy Utrecht and Den Haag inner cities in order to further develop and test the sensor system that is to ensure that the airbag only deploys in case of an actual collision with a cyclist or pedestrian.
This yet-to-be developed airbag, covering the entire windscreen of a car in case of a collision with a cyclist or pedestrian, might annually save the lives of 31 cyclists and 13 pedestrians.
According to TNO research, conducted on behalf of the Department of Transport, Public Works and Water Management and Fietsersbond, an automatic braking system or an airbag on the windscreen of a car are the best options for the protection of vulnerable traffic participants. For this development TNO works in close cooperation with airbag manufacturer Autoliv in Sweden, Centraal Beheer Achmea insurance company and Fietsersbond.
During this test the cars will not be equipped with a cyclist airbag yet, but they do have sensors for the detection of pedestrians and cyclists. Over a year’s period these KPN service cars will be subjected to numerous trials to further develop and test the sensor system.
After all, the airbag is not to deploy until an actual collision with a cyclist and/or pedestrian. In addition there will be experiments to find out whether the system operates in all weather conditions: for instance daylight, darkness, rain and fog. The sensor system may also be used for other active safety applications, for instance automatic braking to protect cyclists and pedestrians.
A Swedish company, on the other hand, is working on a completely different concept: an airbag for the head This invention is intended as a replacement for the bicycle helmet. It is a kind of collar that is inflated when the cyclist is in a collision. The sensors in the collar are powered by a battery that can be charged by means of the usb port on a computer.