Active Glovebox Knee Airbag Equips 2015 Ford Mustang

2015 Ford Mustang Active Glovebox Knee Airbag System 1 photo
Photo: Ford
In the last decade or so, automobile safety systems have come a long way since the driver-passenger airbag setup was the industry standard. Now we've got head-up displays and buttons on the steering wheel to keep our eyes on the road more, emergency braking function at city speeds, autonomous cruise control for highway driving and other hi-tech bits and bobs unimaginable a few years ago. In spite of the rapid advancement of in-car safety technology, the 2015 Ford Mustang introduces an industry-first: the active glovebox knee airbag.
Basically, the Blue Oval's new contraption is raising the bar for passenger safety by providing inflatable restraint protection in a way more compact package than the traditional knee airbag. Tightly packed inside the glovebox door, the all-new design provides protection for the front seat passenger while reducing size and weight to provide better knee room. Best thing of all? According to officials, the innovative airbag will be introduced later this year as a standard safety feature on the heavily anticipated 2015 Ford Mustang. At this moment we presume that a big question mark is bothering you, so let's get on with it and go through how this thing actually works.

The system consists of a pliable, injection-molded inflatable plastic bladder sandwiched between the inner and outer glovebox door panels. After vehicle impact is detected by the crash sensor system, the inflator fills the bladder, extending the entire glovebox outer panel toward the front passenger's legs. Once the bladder is deployed, the outer door helps the passenger's knees by providing a cushion in a manner similar to a traditional airbag.

Despite being 65 percent lighter and 75 percent smaller than a conventional airbag, the active glovebox knee airbag doesn't have to travel as far as a traditional unit, which deploys toward the floor before it curves upward. Also, the glovebox door distributes the impact load over a larger area, translating to a much better protection of the passenger's knees. Since development started on the new system, Ford has been granted 15 U.S. patents.

Compared to the outgoing model, the 2015 Ford Mustang will feature eight airbags as standard, twice as many as the 2014 model year. The fastback adds two side curtain airbags while the rag-top Stang gets a seat-mounted head airbag on both sides. New anchor-side safety belt pretensioning capability and a steering column that can adapt stiffness properties are also there to keep you out of harm's way in a variety of potential crash situations.

“We provide a high level of safety, quality and design for our customers and their passengers,” declared Sean West, Ford restraints manager (didn't know this job existed). “With this innovative airbag, we have developed technology that provides protection for vehicle occupants while also reducing weight and enabling greater design flexibility.”

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About the author: Mircea Panait
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After a 1:43 scale model of a Ferrari 250 GTO sparked Mircea's interest for cars when he was a kid, an early internship at Top Gear sealed his career path. He's most interested in muscle cars and American trucks, but he takes a passing interest in quirky kei cars as well.
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