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2015 Ford Mustang to get new-and-improved airbags

Sections: Car Safety

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2015 Ford Mustang new knee airbag

The 2015 Ford Mustang will get a new front-passenger knee airbag that actually utilizes the outer skin of the glovebox door as part of its cushioning. (Image courtesy Ford Motor Company)

The 2015 Ford Mustang will have twice as many airbags as the outgoing model, including a new knee airbag design that the automaker said will be smaller and lighter, making for a roomier, more comfortable interior.

A press release from Ford said the new airbag will be introduced later this year as part of a comprehensive safety system on the 2015 Ford Mustang that will include “a more robust package of sensors, safety belt anchor pretensioners, improved exterior lighting, and double the total number of airbags” of the previous Mustang.

Ford explained the airbag technology this way:

In the initial application of this technology, an inflatable plastic bladder is integrated into the glove box door and provides front passenger knee protection similar to a conventional knee airbag mounted under the instrument panel. Other applications for this unique and patented technology – which allows airbags to be placed in new locations inside the vehicle and provides more freedom to vehicle designers – are being considered.

Ford Restraints Manager Sean West said, “We provide a high level of safety, quality and design for our customers and their passengers. With this innovative airbag design, we have developed technology that provides protection for vehicle occupants while also reducing weight and enabling greater design flexibility.”

Ford said instead of a traditional knee airbag, which usually has to inflate downward from under the dash/glovebox area and then inflate toward the passenger’s knees, the new airbag is actually sandwiched between the inner and outer layer of the glovebox door. The release said the bag, which is made of injection-molded plastic, actually inflates the surface of the glovebox door toward the front passenger’s legs, which Ford purports will provide cushioning in a manner similar to a traditional knee airbag. The new airbag system reportedly is able to spread the impact over a larger area than a traditional knee airbag, allowing the new design to be inflated at a lower pressure, Ford said.

Ford said the new airbag system is 65% lighter than traditional airbags, and its inflator is approximately 75% smaller than a traditional knee airbag inflator. In addition, the airbag can be placed within the interior more discreetly, with no visible seams, and it allows designers to push the dashboard back closer to the windshield to improve the interior’s feeling of roominess. That’ll be especially handy if you have to haul your kid in the back seat in a ginormous child safety seat, I’d bet — and I’m speaking from experience aplenty here.

Other safety tech coming to the 2015 Ford Mustang, according to the press release:

  • Along with the glove box knee airbag for front passenger, the new Mustang fastback and convertible have driver and passenger front and seat-mounted side airbags, as well as a driver knee airbag. The fastback adds two side curtain airbags, while the convertible gets a seat-mounted head airbag on each side
  • Additional crash sensors are located on the front, sides and center of the car to control the deployment of airbags and safety belt pretensioners. The new Mustang now has two front sensors – two per side – and a roll rate sensor in the restraint control module, all of which contribute to a more adaptive safety system to protect occupants in different types of crashes
  • Also new to Mustang are safety belt pretensioners added to the belt anchor side that further tighten the belt around front seat occupants, keeping them in a more secure spot early in the event of a crash
  • Tri-bar signature lighting and high-intensity-discharge headlamps for improved visibility of the road ahead during nighttime driving
  • Industry-exclusive Ford MyKey allows parents to limit top speed and audio system volume, and to set limits to prevent the disabling of driver-assist features

Ford said it has been granted 15 patents on the 2015 Ford Mustang’s safety tech already, and there are more patents filed. Don’t count on Ford to pull a Tesla by opening its patents to use by just anybody and everybody, we would guess.

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