The all-new Ford Mustang will feature an innovative airbag that provides "inflatable restraint protection in a smaller, lighter package," giving the muscle car a roomier interior.
The new airbag technology incorporates an inflatable plastic bladder into the glovebox door and provides front-passenger knee protection similar to a conventional knee airbag mounted under the instrument panel. However, unlike the traditional fabric airbag, the new system makes use of a pliable, injection-molded plastic bladder sandwiched between the inner and outer glovebox door panels. When the Mustang's crash sensor system detects an impact that necessitates the use of the airbag, an inflator fills the bladder, extending the entire glovebox's outer door panel toward the front passenger's legs. Once deployed, the outer door helps to provide cushioning in a manner similar to a traditional knee airbag.
According to the carmaker, unlike a conventional airbag, which deploys toward the floor before curving upward, the glovebox-integrated airbag extends straight out from the instrument panel, which means it inflates faster. Also, since the glovebox door distributes the impact load over a larger area than a traditional airbag, it can operate at a lower inflation pressure.
Ford claims that since the packaging of this new airbag system is more discreet, "with no visible seams or airbag cover," its designers were given more flexibility to move the Mustang's dashboard closer to the windshield, enhancing the feeling of roominess in the cabin.
In developing the new passenger knee airbag, Ford has reportedly been granted 15 US patents, with more to be filed.
"We provide a high level of safety, quality and design for our customers and their passengers," said Ford restraints manager Sean West. "With this innovative airbag design, we have developed technology that provides protection for vehicle occupants while also reducing weight and enabling greater design flexibility."