When the 2015 Ford Transit 15-passenger wagon hits dealerships, it will offer the automotive industry’s first five-row side-curtain airbag. Ford designed the airbag to provide enhanced head and neck protection in the event of a side-impact or rollover crash as part of Ford’s Safety Canopy System.
Ford developed the airbag in cooperation with TRW Automotive, a global supplier of active and passive safety systems.
"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.
The airbag is close to 15 feet long and 3 feet tall and fills in a fraction of a second, according to the automaker. By comparison, a side-curtain airbag for a sedan like Ford Fusion is approximately 6.8 feet long and 2 feet tall. The single-bag design – in conjunction with tethering and the vehicle’s B-, C- and D-pillars – helps keep the curtain supported when deployed.
“This airbag technology is unique in its purpose, which is to help provide protection across five rows of passengers in a cabin that is more spacious than the more traditional light-duty vehicle,” said Norbert Kagerer, vice president, Occupant Safety Systems Engineering for TRW Automotive. “The stringent customer and industry regulatory requirements for airbags called for developing a system that provides appropriate occupant protection in a smart package.”
Side-curtain airbags are standard on the Transit wagon, which is available in three roof heights, two wheelbases, and three body lengths.