Apple Car may have radical airbag designs for passenger safety

Apple rumors are rumored to have airbags built into seat belts and ceiling recesses for emergency protection, a design that could help keep passengers safe when the seats are facing forward. to face.

Apple is rumored to be working on its own self-designed vehicle. As part of creating the so-called Apple car, Apple has offered a variety of models to change the way people drive, including modifications to sunroofs and doors, as well as various interior elements.

As part of this massive overhaul, Apple has also considered the possibility of people sitting in an unconventional way. While cars generally have their seats oriented in one direction, Apple’s autonomous vehicle system could potentially allow all seats to face the middle of the vehicle, as if it were a room and everything the world could talk to each other.

This change in layout also requires a fundamental overhaul of the security systems used in the vehicle to ensure passenger safety in the event of a collision. With the standard layout, there are places where airbags can be installed to prevent the driver and passengers from hitting parts of the vehicle, or stretching their bodies during accidental movements, with seat pillars and even the table on board itself offering places to store the airbags.

For the potential approach to the Apple wheeled part, these same locations are not necessarily available to perform the same task.

In a patent issued Tuesday by the US Patent and Trademark Office entitled “Occupant safety systems”, Apple tries to address this problem by using a number of different elements.

When an impending collision is detected, Apple suggests the use of a deployable cabin divider with extendable side arms and additional blocking material. As the patent images show, this could take the form of an inflatable barrier that slides between the passenger and a window.

The extendable side arms are a way to limit the movement of the passenger during an impact, by leaving the window barrier in front of the person. As in an accident, passengers are thrown forward but held in place by a safety restraint, placing an inflatable section in front of them restricts their range of motion.

The concept is also offered in a simpler way, for example by simply deploying a large airbag from the cabin ceiling directly in front of the passenger seat, the inflatable block again limiting movement and cushioning the impact. This can even be offered from a version in the seat belt, using a deployable airbag in the safety restraint around the passenger’s waist, deploying again in a large inflatable block.

In the case of the belt and the inflatable blocks deployed on the ceiling, a cabin divider can still be used, but more to prevent prolonged displacement of the airbags by giving them more resistance against the body weight of the user. The cabin divider can also include hidden fasteners, guiding the deployment of the airbag to the desired end position.

The dividers also provide protection against loose objects in the cabin, objects in the rear seat being caught in the separator instead of being thrown toward the front half of the interior of the vehicle, thereby eliminating additional damage caused by high speed projectiles.

Examples of a seatbelt type airbag and a ceiling mounted airbag with an additional strap to restrict movement

Examples of a seatbelt type airbag and a ceiling mounted airbag with an additional strap to restrict movement

In addition to the airbags, the patent also covers the possibility of passengers colliding if they face each other in the event of a collision. With a front seat mounted in reverse and a conventional rear seat, a front impact could force the rear passenger to come into contact with the feet or knees of the front passenger.

The rear passenger will also feel the impact more, as they will be primarily restrained by the safety restraint, while the front passenger will be forced to sit in their chair.

In order to soften the blow from the impact itself and minimize the risk of contact between passengers, Apple suggests that the seats themselves could provide some movement. When an impact is detected, the seats could move a short distance, the front seat being able to move further than the rear.

By moving the seat, the rear passenger feels less force against their body, which reduces the forward distance to which their torso is pulled in a collision and, in turn, reduces the risk of injury. By also moving the front seat, it also minimizes the risk of the rear passenger touching the front passenger’s limbs during the same impact.

Mobile car seats can affect the level of force felt during an impact and prevent passengers from colliding

Mobile car seats can affect the level of force felt during an impact and prevent passengers from colliding

The patent lists its inventors as Nathaniel J. Dennis, Arturo Llamazares Domler, Rikard Fredriksson, Alexander M. Zoellner, Lukas Santas, Jorge C. Fialho, John J. Baker, Jesse T. Buehler and Ronald A. Bowers.

Apple files numerous patent applications on a weekly basis, but although the existence of a patent indicates areas of interest to the company’s research and development efforts, they do not guarantee that the concepts will appear in a future product or service.

Apple’s repeated efforts to improve vehicle safety

This is not Apple’s first foray into redesigning vehicle security systems. In November 2019, he proposed using light sections in a car seat to teach people how to use features, such as how to buckle up.

In January of the same year, Apple suggested using seat tension systems to provide drivers with some form of haptic feedback, while in August 2018 it examined how a seat and restraint could automatically change to better protect the passenger before a collision. A patent from February 2020 mentioned how a car seat and a belt could be changed automatically to make it more comfortable or safer during tight turns.

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