An airbag in your helmet? POC X AUTOLIV Integrated Helmet Airbag Concept Could Help Riders Stay Alive!

The automobile and the bicycle have a tumultuous relationship, to say the least… which often turns out to be fatal for the cyclist.

Good, POC Sports a leader in cycling and snow sports safety, and Autoliv, Inc., a leader in automotive safety systems, are looking to try and change the “deadly” part of that relationship. The two are teaming up in hopes of developing bicycle and e-bike helmets with built-in airbag technology that could help save the lives of cyclists.

POC and Autoliv collaboration

Photo c. COP

The press release says that “Head injuries alone account for half of fatal injuries among cyclists.” We already know that helmets are mostly beneficial for head safety if you were to crash on your own, but when a car is involved things are different. A Swedish insurance company has published a report which claims that “The absorption efficiency of the helmet could still be greatly improved, especially when collisions occur with a car at speeds above 20 km/h (12 mph).”

POC and Autoliv are exploring the potential for using airbag technology in helmets. The airbag, they say, would act as the initial energy absorber while the underlying helmet would be the secondary energy absorber.

POC and Autoliv collaboration

On the inside.

After a pre-study, Autoliv came to the conclusion that a bicycle helmet with the inclusion of an integrated airbag system can “significantly improve protection and reduce the impact of shocks on cyclists. The study also showed that the combination of the two absorbent technologies “allows a reduction in the maximum linear acceleration of the head and a significant reduction in head injuries during impact tests.” The pre-study showed that adding protection improvements (integrated airbag technology) could be done without compromising the design, comfort or weight of the helmet.

Dr. Cecillia Sunnevang, Vice President of Research at Autoliv, says: “Autoliv is committed to the vision of Saving More Lives and providing life-saving world-class solutions for mobility and society. The safety of vulnerable road users, such as cyclists and e-bike users, is one of our priorities. Therefore, it was natural to collaborate on this initiative with POC, a leader in cycling safety, to explore how to improve helmet protection in both current standard tests and more challenging scenarios, such as higher impact speeds. .

According to the press release, this same pre-study also showed that the addition of airbag technology to the top of the helmet contributed significantly to improved safety, especially in linear impacts. The release goes on to say that a cyclist’s risk of sustaining moderate (e.g. mild concussion) to fatal head injuries is estimated to be reduced by 80% to 30% during an impact at 20 km/h (12mph).

POC Airbag Helmet

The POC Airbag helmet in action perhaps?

POC Product Manager OscarHuss says, “Our the safety mission guides everything we do, and we always challenge conventional thinking to improve protection. Helmets are lab tested and certified and can never fully respond to all real-world variables of bicycle crashes. Together with Autoliv, which is world renowned and has some of the most advanced testing and research facilities in the field, we embarked on a development journey with airbag technology, asking ourselves what could be done to excel in today’s test scenarios and push the casing toward even more shock absorption capability”

The press release goes on to say that the number of environmentally conscious e-bike commuters hitting the roads around the world has grown rapidly. Saying that this rapid growth should be met by better helmet protection, especially at the higher speeds of e-bikes.

Autoliv and POC say they developed, during the pre-study, initial concepts using advanced simulation tools and conducted correlated crash tests. This will now lead to further testing and refinement in hopes of further developing the concept and bringing it to market.

Learn more about their findings here.

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