Ford's all-new 15-passenger Transit van, which makes its debut in the U.S. and Canada this year, boasts the only five-row side-curtain airbag in the industry.
The monster-sized airbag is about 4.5 metres long – the full length of a Ford Focus – and almost a metre tall, with a volume of 120 litres when fully inflated. That's more than twice as long and half again as tall as a typical passenger-car curtain airbag, which typically displaces about 42 litres.
Part of what calls its Safety Canopy System, the jumbo airbag is designed to help provide enhanced head and neck protection in rollover and side-impact crashes.
In a side-impact crash situation, a series of sensors detects the impact and triggers two of the industry’s largest inflators to fill the entire airbag with stored gas in a fraction of a second.
The inflators fill the bag in a pattern engineered to manage the direction of bag deployment and to control cushion thickness throughout the length of the bag.
The airbag is made of a coated, polyester-based fabric that holds the gas, so the bag remains inflated for several seconds to help protect against secondary impacts.
The single-bag design – in conjunction with tethering and the vehicle’s B-, C- and D-pillars – helps keep the curtain supported when deployed.
"The Transit wagon’s five-row side-curtain airbag is a great technological innovation that allows us to provide a high level of protection to multiple passengers in one of Ford’s largest vehicles," said Sean West, Ford restraints manager.
Ford developed the five-row side-curtain airbag in cooperation with TRW Automotive, a global supplier of active and passive safety systems.
The side-curtain airbags are standard on the Transit passenger van, which is available in three roof heights, two wheelbases and three body lengths. The high-roof long-wheelbase wagon seats as many as 15 people.