The active hood safety system, now standard on select Buick vehicles, is an innovative feature that can save pedestrians’ lives.
GM researchers are developing a potential driver assistance feature that could detect pedestrians, using peer-to-peer wireless signals.
Our wide-ranging approach to safety includes not just the drivers and passengers in our vehicles, but everyone on the roadways. In the U.S. alone, more than 5,000 pedestrians are killed and over 100,000 are injured in traffic accidents each year. New levels of crash prevention and protection in GM vehicles may help save some of these lives.
The 2018 Buick Regal Sportback and TourX are GM’s first U.S. vehicles to offer a standard active hood pedestrian safety system. It is designed to reduce head injuries during pedestrian impacts. Injuries are often severe and sometimes fatal when there isn’t enough crush space between the hood and engine compartment. When the vehicle is traveling between 16 and 30 miles per hour and the sensor in the front bumper detects a pedestrian impact, the pyrotechnic actuators in the hinges are fired. This lifts the back of the hood automatically by about 4 inches, which creates the crush space between the hood and the other underhood components. This provides a softer landing for the head, which may significantly reduce head injuries.
It may seem like an unconventional solution, but active-hood systems have been in use in Europe for more than 10 years, when GM introduced the technology on Opel vehicles. Pedestrian fatalities have dropped by 50 percent in that time period.
The system works in tandem with other advanced safety features, including Front Pedestrian Braking, Forward Automatic Braking and Adaptive Cruise Control. When a vehicle identifies a pedestrian directly ahead and determines a collision is imminent, the system alerts the driver and, if necessary, automatically applies the brakes to help reduce the collision’s severity or avoid the collision, while prepping the active hood for deployment to further mitigate the severity of impact.