Side Impact Air Bags

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Side Impact Air Bags

Aptera Community Aptera Discussions Side Impact Air Bags

  • Side Impact Air Bags

  • John Trotter

    Member
    June 3, 2022 at 8:11 am

    One technical point I have not seen discussed has been side-impact air bags, sometimes called air-bag curtains. The only mention I have seen so far about air bags has been a lap harness installation, similar to that used in small aircraft. Aircraft generally do not protect against side impact, so that would not seem to me to be the answer. Aptera’s passenger capsule is quite robust, not unlike certain race car configurations, but those race cars come with helmeted occupants. I’d like to be certain that head impact is not a problem in Aptera side-impact accidents. Discovering a problem in crash testing would be too late.

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    June 3, 2022 at 8:27 am

    @John Trotter The purpose of crash testing is to determine if the mitigation strategies are functional and sufficient: If they need to be adjusted and/or improved a vehicle can be retested after the changes are made – so it’s not “too late”.


    • Dennis Swaney

      Member
      June 3, 2022 at 8:45 am

      Are you talking about pre or post production crash testing? The former usually takes several weeks or even months so it could be “too late” if deliveries are to start this year (unless Aptera plans to recall and replace 2022 production vehicles if they fail the crash tests).

  • Gabriel Kemeny

    Member
    June 3, 2022 at 1:24 pm

    I don’t believe any supplemental air bags have ever been promised – I wouldn’t expect anything but frontal ones.

    • John Trotter

      Member
      June 3, 2022 at 6:59 pm

      I am pretty sure there are no plans beyond frontal bags for the driver and passenger. Hopefully, side impact testing is being modeled accurately before it has to be done with real dummies. To maintain schedule, crash testing needs to be confirmation, not discovery.

    • Dennis Swaney

      Member
      June 3, 2022 at 7:57 pm

      Side airbags aren’t specifically mandated, but nearly all manufacturers include them as standard equipment in order to meet federal side protection requirements. So it will depend on whether or not the basic Aptera body can satisfy the federal side protection rules.

      • Peter Dezendorf

        Member
        June 6, 2022 at 11:24 am

        Aptera is an autocycle, so it does not need to meet federal car standards. I understand the CEOs seek to be at the level of federal standards as a goal not as a requirement.

        • John Trotter

          Member
          June 7, 2022 at 3:32 pm

          Peter. Aptera might end up being a light-but-strong ping pong ball when struck sideways by vehicles weighing 2x or 3x. Heads inside the ball will be OK only if they do not bang against the sidewall. Legalities have nothing to do with it. In the words of someone Elon Musk quotes: “Physics is the only law. The rest are suggestions.”

          • Peter Dezendorf

            Member
            June 7, 2022 at 7:01 pm

            Yes. However the post I replied to referred to federal requirements which do not apply. The physics apply, which is what drives the CEOs. Desire is different from requirement.

          • Peter Dezendorf

            Member
            June 7, 2022 at 7:03 pm

            Oh, and: “All of science is either physics or stamp collecting,” E. Rutherford

          • P M

            Member
            June 7, 2022 at 8:22 pm

            Side impacts can cause severe brain injuries even if the head does not impact the sidewall. The sideways rotation of the head causes a shear stress in the brain. We want side impact airbags to prevent the head from tilting sideways.

  • kerbe2705

    Member
    June 7, 2022 at 10:33 pm

    Side-impact airbags are fairly easy to implement: They can be mounted in the headliner, in the “A” or “B” pillar or in the seats.

    • Dennis Swaney

      Member
      June 8, 2022 at 7:48 am

      Could they be retro-fitted at a later date if Aptera doesn’t put them in the first production vehicles?

      Also, if they go with a yoke for steering, can there even be a front airbag installed?

      • Joshua Rosen

        Member
        June 8, 2022 at 7:54 am

        Why wouldn’t a yoke be able to have an airbag? The difference between a yoke and a wheel is just at the top, the airbag is in the center.

        • Dennis Swaney

          Member
          June 8, 2022 at 8:11 am

          The yokes are a lot smaller than a wheel since the top and bottom arcs of the steering wheel aren’t there. Maybe the three spoke airbag used in some Mazda Miata would fit if the “yoke” was a half-steering wheel with just the top arc removed.

          • This reply was modified 3 weeks, 4 days ago by  Dennis Swaney. Reason: Fix typo
      • Qiang Fu

        Member
        June 8, 2022 at 9:01 am

        I vaguely remember reading somewhere that Aptera is using airplane style airbag integrated with the seat belt. Someone correct me if I am off…

  • George Hughes

    Member
    June 8, 2022 at 9:12 am

    Someone asked if side-impact air-bags might be retro-fitted.

    Absolutely.

    I suspect, if the Aptera proves as popular as I hope, pressure will be put on Aptera for custom seats/trims. Seats are really key to the safety thing and, yes, you can incorporate side air bags into the seat structure. They will have as much to do about the Aptera’s safety in side-impacts as the air-bags.

    I look forward to the day when two or three seat ‘options’ arrive including one, I’ll call the ‘cocoon’ which with its combination of belts, structure and strength of the seat, does the job almost as well as a seat designed specifically for racing (I.e. a full shoulder harness, superior head protection, etc.).

    You could buy one of these and pay to have it installed but given the likelihood – or more properly the rarity of such collisions – extreme overkill I’d recommend you go with the ‘designed’ seat for the vehicle.

    Different people have different fears and expectations. Me, well if you count the indiscretions of youth, I’ve probably stopped at 94 percent of all the stop signs I encountered and never was once T-boned, nor have I T-boned anyone.

    Recalling a comment from Sandy Monro about side-impacts, he noted the ‘curvature’ of the body and suggested glancing blow even in a full-side impact. In terms of physics, this would suggest first that the rear of the Aptera will be the first design element to define the event as the vehicle will begin to lift and possibly roll over as it absorbs the impact.

    If it doesn’t roll over, then the Aptera will come to rest headed toward the t-boning vehicle. If it rolls, it will ruin the finish and destroy some solar cells and possibly break some glass as it slides away from the point of impact.

    I can’t imagine the Aptera emulating a ping-pong ball in this scenario although I do expect it to show greater ‘movement’ than a typical 2-ton vehicle in reaction. This additional movement is actually great as Aptera’s strong composite monocoque transfers more of the energy to movement than it does to crushing.

    A greater concern regarding crashworthyness might be whether the doors will work after an accident … and whether the doors will work if the Aptera is topsy-turvy and how you could exit the vehicle if it were upside down?

    Also, I’m curious if the mere strength of the Aptera cockpit might also require first responder training on use of the jaws of life – where to place it to whack open a wrecked Aptera to extricate a fellow Apterian.

    • Dennis Swaney

      Member
      June 8, 2022 at 10:09 am

      George, I’m sure you’ve noticed the Recaro seats and 4-point harnesses in the Betas. I couldn’t tell if they included a submarine belt for a 5-point harness.

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