Ford Motor Company has filed a patent for an instrument panel mounted driver airbag, Ford Authority has learned.
The patent was filed on December 10th, 2020, published on June 14th, 2022, and assigned serial number 11358551.
The Ford Authority Take
Ford has filed a host of safety and airbag-related patents over the past several months, including one for an energy absorbing seat, a pivotable armrest and airbag, a seat bottom-mounted airbag system, a side airbag with adaptive positioning, a movable roof supported airbag system, and a seat bottom mounted airbag that protects pets. Now, a new Ford patent aims to put an airbag in yet another place one doesn’t currently exist – the instrument panel.
Instead of a traditional steering wheel mounted airbag, this new Ford patent places both the airbag and inflator in the instrument panel, which also contains two chambers. A number of tethers are positioned in the second chamber, each of which is coupled between the central area of a lower side and central area of an upper side, with extensions protruding from the lower side. The extensions are designed to keep the airbag from moving around too much in the event of a crash.
The purpose of this particular patent is to address vehicles that come equipped with small, non-circular steering wheels that make the placement of a traditional airbag more of a challenge. These types of steering wheels are difficult to load with airbags as they have less surface area than regular steering wheels, while they also lack the necessary support for traditional airbags. It’s certainly an interesting idea, and one that may have some real world viability in vehicles with smaller, square-shaped steering wheels or even yokes, which are suddenly gaining favor among some automakers.