Archive for February, 1996

NEXT GENERATION SAABS TO FEATURE WORLD’S FIRST “ACTIVE” HEAD RESTRAINT SYSTEM

Posted on 02. Feb, 1996 by .

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NEXT GENERATION SAABS TO FEATURE WORLD’S FIRST “ACTIVE” HEAD RESTRAINT SYSTEM

Joint development with Delphi yields technology that reduces whiplash injuries

NORCROSS, Ga. — Saab, together with Delphi Interior & Lighting Systems, is developing an innovative active head restraint system which is designed to reduce the risk of whiplash injuries. Called Pro-tech, the system provides substantially improved protection from whiplash injuries for front seat occupants during certain types of impacts, such as rear-end collisions.
The new Pro-tech active head restraint system, to be introduced as standard equipment in the next generation Saab models, effectively limits occupant head and neck “whiplash” movement relative to the body. Based on simple mechanical principles, the head restraint is connected to a pressure plate in the seatback. In a collision from the rear, the occupant is pressed into the backrest, moving the pressure plate towards the rear. This action moves the head restraint upwards and forward to meet the head before the dangerous whiplash movement has started, thereby helping to reduce the potential for neck injury.

The precise activation of the Pro-tech system is determined by the force with which the occupant’s back is pressed against the backrest, the magnitude of the collision forces, and by the occupant’s weight. Therefore, the head restraint system is well matched to the individual occupying the seat.

Neck injuries, one of the most common type of injuries in automobile accidents, usually occur in rear-end collisions at relatively low speed, according to data gathered by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA). Due to the relative high instance of such collisions, ease of repair is another major benefit. Pro-tech, unlike a pyrotechnic system such as an air bag, will in most cases not require repair to restore it to operational condition after it has been activated. After the head restraint has been activated and limited the head’s movement, it will revert to its initial position, ready to perform its task again.

Saab’s use of Pro-tech is the first use of the system in the world, representing a further step in Saab’s efforts to reduce the risk of neck injuries. The system was developed in partnership with Delphi Interior & Lighting Systems, a subsidiary of General Motors Corporation.
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