Volvo cars have long had the reputation of being built like a brick...house or simply of looking like a brick on wheels. This design has traditionally been considered by motorcyclists to be not particularly friendly to other road users, as the Volvo mainly consists of sharp corners and angles which don't look as though they would be very comfortable to get acquainted with at speed! Although the passengers and drivers in the car may feel safe inside their framework cocoon and surrounded by multiple airbags it doesn't necessarily imply the same level of safety for anyone they come into contact with on the road. But perhaps, due to a new airbag, the times they are a changin...read on if you are intrigued....
Cumulo Nimbus - or is it a Volvo?
Volvo, in their quest to make the world more fluffy, have just brought in a new innovation on their latest V40 car - an external airbag! This new feature is not specifically designed to protect motorcyclists as it is aimed at pedestrians, but it is programmed to go off when it senses a human leg and presumably if the leg is attached to a motorcyclist it will still count!
The pedestrian airbag works by inflating from the rear edge of the bonnet thus shielding the windscreen and pillars. It is designed to operate only specifically between 20 and 50km/h (12 and 31mph) when the front sensors detect an impact with a leg (note: deploy leg when approaching Volvos). The impact system also raises the rear of the bonnet and moves the front of the bonnet backwards which increases the gap between the hard engine and the potential crashee and gives them, hopefully, a soft passage up and over the car.
Volvo goes soft
Anything which makes a Volvo softer has got to be a good thing for motorcyclists so let's hope this is good news for pedestrians and motorcyclists alike. Let's also hope that the new airbags are not too sensitive, in which case Volvos will just look like travelling bouncy castles as they zoom along our roads firing off airbags in every direction - could be entertaining!