Ford's latest Mustang is the first vehicle to be equipped with a new type of innovative, space-saving knee airbag.
The airbag, which is integrated in the lid of the glove box, is constructed from a plastic material rather than the traditional textile fabric. When deployed, the lid is propelled outward by a tiny gas generator inflating an air bladder behind it in just 20 milliseconds.
At 46cm long and 28cm wide, the glove box airbag weighs 65% less than a conventional knee airbag and works alongside the seven other standard airbags inside the new Mustang, which has been awarded the highest-possible safety standard by North American authorities.
Of the new technology, which has already been awarded 23 patents, Ford restraints manager Sean West commented: "This is a new way of thinking about airbags. We went back to the drawing board and in the course of a year went through hundreds of prototypes to get it just right. With this design we were able to combine the functions of two separate parts into one single part to save on space, weight and components; and move the instrument panel further forward, ensuring there was more room for the front passenger."
He continued: "Our glove box airbag opens up a whole new world of possibilities for injection-moulded plastic airbags. The glove box airbag could be just the beginning," West added.