A Bag on a Hot Tin Roof

TRW's roof mounted airbag (© TRW.com)
TRW’s roof mounted airbag (© TRW.com)

When I started work as an engineer in vehicle crashworthiness, a car had two airbags, one each for the driver and the passenger – for frontal impact. You would get two more side bags for your torso if you were lucky. Of course, real luck is when you never have to use those bags!

But by the time I had decided to bid adieu to the car world, most cars had eight bags – two frontal, two side, two curtain and a couple of knee bags. What amazes me are the sheer number of innovations in these bags. Of course, most consumers are oblivious to the features in the airbags. Dual depth bags ,inboard bags and inflatable seatbelts to name a few.

Now when my imagination could go no further, TRW has come up with a headliner mounted airbag. I had first heard about this concept a few years back and I expected the bag to appear soon in an american showroom. Finally, it has arrived on the stage not in a yankee-mobile or a rice burner but rather in a Gaelic mobile.

Screen shot 2014-11-10 at 11.25.43 PM
The Citroen C4 Cactus (© Citroen Media)

Now I know the average driver could not care less but imagine if this innovation freed interior space. The dashboard on the passenger side is limited by the fact that it has to house the airbag and also has to in a location so as to quickly deploy the bag. Oh and of course, it cannot rip a child’s head off even if the progenitor has displayed a lack of judgement and allowed his or her rugrats to ride unbelted in the front.

Citroen, having suddenly decided to recapture its innovative youth (remember the DS .. anyone?) has decided to use the C4 Cactus as the pilot vehicle for this invention. Of course, the C4 Cactus is also known for other ideas such as its dent-resistant air-bump panels.

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The bright and ‘airy’ interior. Of course, there is no mention of not having an airbag in the dash for the passenger. (© Citroen Media)

Ironically, the Citroen website makes no mention of its bag in the roof other than a few terse sentences about its airy cabin. Is it because Citroen thinks that its customers don’t care. Or its nothing to crow about. Come on Citroen, its time for you to come clean about everything different in this car.


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