Auburn Hills’ Autoliv Unveils ‘Revolutionary’ Passenger Airbag

Autoliv Inc., an Auburn Hills-based automotive safety systems supplier, has unveiled what it calls a “revolutionary” new passenger airbag module that can inflate larger airbags more efficiently as well as reduce development time and costs.
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Autoliv’s new Bernoulli Airbag system can inflate larger airbags more efficiently as well as reduce development time and costs. // Photo courtesy of Autoliv

Autoliv Inc., an Auburn Hills-based automotive safety systems supplier, has unveiled what it calls a “revolutionary” new passenger airbag module that can inflate larger airbags more efficiently as well as reduce development time and costs.

The new Autoliv airbag module is based on Swiss mathematician and physicist Daniel Bernoulli’s fundamental principles of fluid dynamics that explain many phenomena such as how airplanes fly.

Bernoulli’s principle states that an increase in the speed of a fluid occurs simultaneously with a decrease in static pressure. Using this principle, Autoliv has leveraged pressure differences to add a significant contribution of surrounding air to the inflation of an airbag.

“We have developed a way to inflate very large airbags, like the one’s needed in newer electric vehicles with roomier cockpits and comfort seating, with a smaller single stage inflator,” says  Jordi Lombarte, chief technical officer at Autoliv.

“Additionally, the Bernoulli Airbag generates less heat, is lighter, and can reduce customer development testing in the United States by more than 30 percent. Low risk deployment requirements can be met with a single stage inflator.”

For the Bernoulli Airbag, when the inflator receives a signal that a crash has begun, it will propel high-pressure gases at supersonic speed through multiple inlet tubes. As the gases flow through the tubes, it will suck the surrounding ambient air into the chamber with the gases, creating aspiration, and will inflate a much larger airbag with an even smaller inflator than required today.

“It is undoubtedly an example of our commitment to saving lives and redefining the standards of safety so our customers can build the safest possible vehicles,” Lombarte says. “By doing this, we can affect other aspects of the safety system and offer our customers options that do not exist today. The Bernoulli Airbag is a significant step forward in making vehicles safer in a more efficient and sustainable manner.”

The Bernoulli Airbag will be commercialized during the third quarter of 2023.