It may sound easy enough, but don't try this at home. To test the performance of new pressure-based air bag sensors equipped on the 2010 Taurus and 2009 Ford F150, Ford engineers have employed equipment more commonly found in shopping malls than in laboratories, such such as water cannons, basket balls, shopping carts.
Unconventional as these tests may seem in a state-of-the-art testing facility, it's exactly what these vehicles might encounter in the real world and what engineers need to test against.
As part an effort to achieve the highest safety ratings, Ford has replaced acceleration-based sensors with pressure-based sensors that more accurately measure the severity of a crash.
These new air bag pressure sensors, according to Ford, have several advantages over air bags equipped with acceleration-based sensors: they deploy 30 percent faster, perform better in new federal side-impact and oblique-impact tests, are less likely to be affected by vehicle design differences, and give designers more flexibility because they take up less space. … Read more