Honda Safety Issue Brief
2/3/2014 7:01:00 AM
Honda has a long history of leadership in the development and application of advanced technologies and vehicle designs that enhance the safety of Honda customers and other road users, including motorcycle riders and pedestrians. The company operates two of the world's most sophisticated crash test laboratories and is responsible for numerous pioneering efforts in the areas of airbag technology, collision compatibility and pedestrian safety. This commitment to safety is founded in Honda's goal to be a company that society wants to exist, and it complements the company's leadership in reducing vehicle emissions, improving fuel efficiency and advancing alternatives to gasoline.
Comprehensive Approach to Safety
Honda takes a comprehensive approach to vehicle safety, seeking to provide enhanced levels of occupant protection and help with crash avoidance in all Honda and Acura passenger vehicle designs, while also making an active commitment to enhance safety for the occupants of other vehicles as well as pedestrians.
Honda is committed to Safety for Everyone-that means studying real world situations to develop vehicles with advanced collision protection and advanced safety and driver assistive technologies with the goal of achieving a collision free society, not only for drivers and passengers of Honda vehicles, but everyone on the road.
Recent Safety and Driver Assistive Technologies
Starting with the 2013 Honda Crosstour, the company has taken a comprehensive approach to enhancing driver visibility and confidence on the road, beginning with the widespread application of rearview cameras. More than 94 percent of Honda and Acura models sold in the U.S. in 2013 were equipped with standard rearview cameras.
Rearview cameras are just one aspect of Honda's 360-degree approach to enhanced driver visibility and situational awareness, demonstrated by the broad application of technologies such as Forward Collision Warning (FCW) and Lane Departure Warning (LDW) systems on Honda and Acura models,. These systems use a camera mounted behind the windshield or a front mount radar system to warn drivers of a potential collision with a vehicle detected in front of them, or to alert drivers if the car is unexpectedly moving out of a detected lane. Other features aimed at improving driver visibility are the Expanded View Driver's Mirror, Honda LaneWatch display and Acura's Blind Spot Information (BSI) system.
Crash Test Ratings
Honda has been a consistent leader in achieving top-level safety ratings for its vehicles in both government and private industry crash test ratings.
For the 2014 model year, a total of six Honda and Acura models, the most of any auto maker, received the highest possible safety rating of TOP SAFETY PICK+ from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) under its more challenging ratings protocols implemented for the 2014 model year.
Four 2014 Honda models were named a 2014 IIHS TOP SAFETY PICK+: the Accord Sedan and Coupe; Civic Sedan; and Odyssey, which is the only minivan yet to earn this designation. The Civic Coupe was named a TOP SAFETY PICK. Additionally, two 2014 Acura models, the MDX sport-utility vehicle and the RLX sedan each achieved a TOP SAFETY PICK+ rating with the 2014 TL earning a TOP SAFETY PICK rating.
For the 2014 model year, the Honda Accord Coupe, Sedan and Hybrid and Odyssey have each earned a top 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score in NHTSA's New Car Assessment Program (NCAP). The 2014 Acura ILX, ILX Hybrid, MDX and RDX also received a top 5-Star Overall Vehicle Score.
Currently American Honda has four vehicles, the most of any manufacturer, to achieve both TSP/TSP+ from IIHS and an NCAP 5-Star rating.
Honda has been conducting advanced research into two experimental safety technologies aimed at reducing the potential for collisions between automobiles and pedestrians and between automobiles and motorcycles. These advanced Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) and Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) technologies, while still in the research and testing phase, demonstrate Honda's vision to advance safety for all road users, including pedestrians and motorcycle riders, as well as automobile occupants.
Honda also has been conducting advanced research into Vehicle-to-Vehicle (V2V) and Vehicle-to-Infrastructure (V2I) systems, and is a partner in the Connected Vehicle Safety Pilot Program conducted by the U.S. Department of Transportation, including the Department's Safety Pilot Model Deployment test program, currently underway in Ann Arbor, Michigan. There are eight Honda vehicles participating in the test program.
Vehicle-to-Pedestrian (V2P) Technology
Honda R&D has successfully demonstrated the ability of a car equipped with Dedicated Short Range Communications (DSRC) technology to detect a pedestrian with a DSRC enabled smartphone. This vehicle-to-pedestrian (V2P) technology uses cooperative communication between an individual's smartphone and nearby vehicles and provides auditory and visual warnings to both the pedestrian and drivers. The system is designed to mitigate the potential for a collision between the vehicle and pedestrian.
Using the pedestrian's smartphone GPS, its dynamic sensing capability and DSRC wireless technology in the 5.9GHz band, the pedestrian's smartphone and nearby vehicles establish a communications channel to determine if the pedestrian is in danger of being struck by an oncoming car. The V2P system is effective even when the pedestrian is not easily detectable by the driver, such as when stepping off a curb from behind a parked vehicle or other traffic obstruction.
Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) Technology
Using the DSRC communication system, Honda's Vehicle-to-Motorcycle (V2M) technology can determine the potential for a collision between a motorcycle and an automobile. The V2M system's advantage is its ability to sense the presence of a motorcycle even when it is obstructed from the view of nearby automobile drivers. The system provides auditory and visual warnings to the automobile driver. This system is being researched and tested in cooperation with the University of Michigan Transportation Research Institute.
As part of its commitment to improving safety for all road users, Honda has also led the U.S. automotive industry in the application of features designed to reduce injuries to pedestrians in a collision, such as collapsible hood hinges and breakaway windshield wiper pivots, with a focus on reducing severe head injuries, which account for 60 percent of pedestrian fatalities.
In advancing its designs, Honda first sought to better understand the dynamics of pedestrian collisions with the development of POLAR II, widely recognized at the time of introduction as the world's most advanced pedestrian crash test dummy. Tests conducted with POLAR II led to the development of the above noted features.
In September 2008, Honda introduced its third-generation POLAR III test dummy with the enhanced ability to measure crash forces in the lower back and upper leg areas.
More than 10 million Honda and Acura vehicles purchased by U.S. customers, including all model year 2008 and newer vehicles (except the S2000 - discontinued for MY2010) feature pedestrian injury mitigation features and designs.
Crash Compatibility and the ACE Body Structure
Honda has played a leading role in addressing the issue of compatibility in frontal collisions between vehicles of different size, mass and ride height.
In 2005, Honda introduced the Advanced Compatibility Engineering (ACE) body structure on the Acura RL to enhance occupant protection in a frontal collision between vehicles of different sizes and ride heights.
The next-generation ACE body structure improves frontal crash energy management through a wider range of offset and oblique collision modes. In addition, other body reinforcements work in tandem with the strengthened body structure to better maintain the occupant compartment volume during frontal collisions by providing additional crash energy pathways to help mitigate the forces transmitted to the passenger compartment.
The 2014 Accord, Civic and Odyssey and Acura RLX and MDX feature the next-generation of Honda's ACE body structure, which has enabled these vehicles to achieve top level safety ratings, including a score of GOOD in the IIHS' stringent new small offset frontal crash test. The soon to be introduced 2015 Fit and 2015 Acura TLX also will feature the next generation ACE body structure, and likewise are expected to receive top safety ratings.
Advanced Safety Testing
Honda operates two of the world's most sophisticated crash test laboratories for development of improved safety designs and technologies.
The company's Tochigi, Japan, facility was the world's first indoor, multi-directional car-to-car crash testing facility. The Tochigi facility has played a critical role in the development of enhanced designs for occupant and pedestrian safety as well as vehicle-to-vehicle compatibility.
Honda R&D America's Raymond, Ohio, development center performs advanced testing on all U.S.- developed models. The facility features the world's first crash test sled with the ability to simulate the forward pitching motion of an automobile in a frontal collision, allowing for more accurate simulations of vehicle crash dynamics. The Ohio facility also features one of the world's highest resolution impact barriers - a 100-ton moveable crash test block with reconfigurable sides and 450 load cells - enabling precise measurement of the distribution of impact load forces on a vehicle to aid in the development of more advanced vehicle designs.
Industry-Leading Air Bag Technologies
Honda has long been a leader in introducing the industry's most advanced air bag systems, including:
- The first front passenger airbag to deploy vertically from the instrument panel, rather than directly at the passenger.
- Application of a new type of side curtain airbag that includes a front chamber design providing additional protection in situations where occupants move in a more angled outboard trajectory, such as those that occur in oblique or offset crashes, as well as ejection mitigation features that were introduced before being required by NHTSA regulations.