• Sep 30th 2008 at 3:57PM
  • 18
Safety technology has improved by leaps and bounds over the last few decades, and just about every automaker now knows how to score a five star rating from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Toyota is looking to keep the stars coming by developing a new rear window airbag that will be standard equipment on its upcoming iQ micro car. A quick glance at micro-vehicles like the iQ shows that there is very little space between the back seat and the rear window, which means there won't be as much metal to absorb the impact of a rear collision. With Toyota's new rear window airbag, the rear air bag is ejected from the roof lining during a fender bender. Toyota says it will help protect the heads and necks back seat passengers, which is all the more important in smaller vehicles like the iQ. In addition to this new bag, Toyota wants to improve its safety reputation by making side curtain and shield airbags standard for all of itsmodels.

[Source: Toyota]

PRESS RELEASE

TOYOTA DEVELOPS WORLD'S FIRST REAR WINDOW CURTAIN SHIELD AIRBAG

Toyota announced today that it has developed the world's first* SRS (Supplemental Restraint System) rear window curtain shield airbag to protect rear passengers' heads in the event of a rear-end collision.

The innovative airbag deploys from the roof lining above the rear window in the form of a curtain-like barrier. Together with the headrests, the airbag minimises impact to the head from a colliding vehicle or parts of the hit vehicle, thus helping to reduce the severity of injuries. Its use in the soon-to-be launched "iQ" ultra-compact four-seater is expected to approximately double the car's rear passenger head protection performance.

Toyota has continued to actively develop and make available its collision safety technologies – resulting in such achievements as the swift market introduction of SRS curtain shield and knee airbags – to enable its vehicles to better respond to a greater range of accidents.

As a part of its efforts to realise sustainable mobility, Toyota intends to strengthen its traffic safety initiatives in the future through: 1) the development of even safer vehicles and technologies; 2) participation in the creation of a safe traffic environment and 3) activities designed to educate people on traffic safety, thereby contributing to the complete elimination of traffic casualties, which can be viewed as the ultimate hope of a society that values mobility.

*According to TMC research, as of September 2008


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  • 18 Comments
      • 7 Years Ago
      Hair Bags.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Odd, how/why did someone develop this when there were no gov't regulations requiring it?
      • 7 Years Ago
      Uhhh, could closing the trunk hard enough cause it to go off? My old box (totalled last week :'( ) trunk lid closed pretty damn hard.
      • 7 Years Ago
      So what happens if you have a piece of cargo behind the seats which is tall enough to extend above the height of the seatbacks? With a vehicle this small, it's not all that unreasonable to think that someone might, on more than one occasion, have an item larger than the compact area behind the seats. If the airbag goes off in this instance, will that item be forced into the back of one's skull?

      It's a similar issue to bed-extenders. In a rear-end collision, would a long, non-deformable item (such as a steel pipe) extending past the end of the bed be forced through into the backs of passengers in the cab?
      • 7 Years Ago
      I hate to say it, but good job.
      • 7 Years Ago
      At first glance, my thought was "oh great. Yet another airbag." But this makes sense.. the rear windows in just about every car out there are not typically laminated as is the case with the windshield. In a microcar where said glass is practically the headrest, this seems like a no-brainer to me.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Well, unless the airbag is made of kevlar or something, I wouldn't expect them to really do much if the rear glass shattered...I think this is more geared toward absorbing the energy from rear impacts.
        • 7 Years Ago
        I'd look at it the same way I look at side airbags.. the glass is going to shatter no matter what, but at least there's something between me and the glass. I'll take that over nothing.
      • 7 Years Ago
      ahhh.... This is becoming much like the 1993 blockbuster "Demolition Man" starring Wesley Sniper and Sly Stallone. I can't remember off the top of my head but one of the two actors crashes his car and it turns into a styrofoam material which he breaks out of like an egg. Pretty sweet...I will always remember that as a kid and going "wow, what a great idea".
      • 7 Years Ago
      That's actually a very good idea.
        • 7 Years Ago
        Considering getting rear ended in a Yaris is a near death sentence for rear seat passengers...
      • 7 Years Ago
      As long as it doesn't make rearward visibility even worse than the thick pillars, center shoulder belts and rear headrests already do! (How much more dangerous do our cars have to be in the name of safety?)
      • 7 Years Ago
      toyota, the brains of the automotive world
        • 7 Years Ago
        quirky cousin Al, alternating between genius ideas and awful ones
        • 7 Years Ago
        What is GM?

        Retarded cousin?
      • 7 Years Ago
      If it "deploys from the roof lining above the rear window," I hope the body structure in that area is stout enough to ensure this airbag is deployed in the proper position, but I guess it all may happen quickly enough to work anyway.
      • 7 Years Ago
      Don't mean to sound dense, but wouldn't proper head rests accomplish the same thing? What scares me about micro cars are physics. It's nice that the smart's body structure is so rigid, but weight matters and getting instantly flung in a different direction will hurt bad, no matter how many airbags. Likewise, getting rear-ended by an SUV or pickup with it's ranch hand grill plowing through the rear window will not be stopped by a little airbag.
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