Three years ago, we first heard about TRW Automotive's new roof-mounted airbag system. At the time, the company claimed that it had a "significant production contract" with an unnamed auto manufacturer, that might see the technology appearing on production vehicles. Now, TRW has announced that the airbags will be standard on the new Citroen C4 Cactus.
The system is designed to replace passenger airbags located in the dashboard, allowing for more dash-based electronics, increased storage space, and greater flexibility in the design of vehicles' interior spaces. It should also reportedly reduce costs of dashboard development, as automakers won't have to design and test "doors" that must open upon airbag deployment.
It consists of a cushion, a gas diffusion channel and a gas generator, all of which are contained within a housing located on or beneath the headlining above the windscreen. When activated, the cushion instantaneously fills with gas, inflating and unfolding in front of the windshield.
Although the Cactus is the first car to use the system, the airbag is claimed to be "functionally compatible with a wide range of vehicle architectures."