A segment of the automotive enthusiast community holds a real prejudice against convertibles. While the majority of the ire stems from an irrational bitterness or assumption that any car that sacrifices any amount body stiffness for style is inherently wrong, there is one valid complaint: most convertibles are less safe in a crash than a hardtop.
With that in mind, Porsche has patented an airbag concealed within the A-pillar specifically designed to protect soft-top occupants in the event that the windshield frame bendsÂ toward their fragile skulls during an accident â€” a handy feature for a vehicle lacking roof support. However, there is no reason the system couldn’t also be implemented in vehicles with a rigid ceiling.Â
In the patent diagrams, originally spotted by Motor1, Porsche has the device occupying the entire length of the pillar. The airbag would expand and protect passengers upper body as they move forward during a collision. With convertibles’ tendency to deform in that specific area in a crash, a large airbag would be of additional value.
This sort of safety feature would also be especially welcome in a small overlapÂ impact, where the majority of force is focused on the front corner of a vehicle. Tests conducted by theÂ Insurance Institute for Highway Safety routinely show that this type of crash can send the head on a trajectory that misses the steering wheel airbag. While side-curtainÂ bags mitigate some of the risk, those aren’t an option on a convertible and test dummies occasionally careen into A-pillars in cars equipped with sill-mounted inflation devices.
Obviously, keeping the cabin from deforming is the best way to ensure occupant safety, but an additional airbag could be the difference between life and death for those who prefer to feel the wind in their hair.
Article source: http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2017/05/porsche-apillar-patent/