Manufacturing News

Buick introduces 'active hood' safety device to protect pedestrians

Buick will introduce its 'active hood' safety system on the Regal sedan to protect pedestrians during low-speed collisions.

The system, which Buick markets in Europe, the United States and South Korea, is designed to soften the impact of a pedestrian’s head on the hood in the event of a collision.

The system is designed for use at speeds of 25 to 48 kph in crowded urban areas. If the vehicle’s sensors detect an imminent collision, a small pyrotechnic device lifts the back of the hood about 10 centimeters within milliseconds.

The device is part of a safety system dubbed eProtect, which alerts a driver and -- if necessary -- activates the brakes after the sensors detect a likely collision.

GM introduced the system in Europe in 2007, and fatalities have fallen 50 percent over the past decade, said Wahaj Hussain, the GM engineer who developed the technology.

“By introducing this feature in China, we hope to eventually see similar results,” Hussain said.

The active hood could prove useful in China, where 260,000 people die in road accidents each year. According to the World Health Organization, 60 percent of those fatalities are pedestrians, bicycle riders and motorcyclists.

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