Detachable airbags for two-wheelers in the works for Honda

Recent design patents filed by Honda show the Japanese giant to be working on motorcycle airbags that wrap around the rider and then detach from the vehicle.

By Zaran Mody, Autocar India calendar 13 Mar 2023 Views icon3863 Views Share - Share to Facebook Share to Twitter Share to LinkedIn Share to Whatsapp

Honda has been a pioneer of airbag technology on two-wheelers, offering a frontal airbag on its Gold Wing tourer way back in 2006. In the decade and a half since then, though, the technology hasn’t really made its way into the mainstream, and the Gold Wing is still the only bike to offer it.

More recently, though, Honda’s patent filings suggest that it’s getting ready to take things to the next level. We recently uncovered a design patent that Honda filed right here in India, for frontal airbags on scooters, and now, new filings have emerged that show the groundbreaking detachable airbag concept.

Like most airbag systems, this one uses a canister of pressurised gas to rapidly fill the airbag in the event of the crash. As it inflates, it wraps around the rider’s torso, providing protection to their chest and back. After that, though, is when things get interesting. The airbag is sealed using heat, and then detaches from the vehicle. A check valve is deployed to ensure that the airbag deflates at a controlled rate, absorbing energy from any impacts in the process.

There are two main designs under development – the first houses the airbag system in the front of the seat, between the rider’s legs, from where the airbag inflates and wraps around. The second (and more comforting) design places the airbag system behind the rider, roughly between the rider seat and pillion seat.

This technology is clearly in the very early stages of development, so it isn’t likely to feature on a production vehicle anytime soon. But it will be interesting to see what solutions Honda comes up with to accommodate riders of all different shapes and sizes.

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