Acura Introduces Two New Air Bag Safety System In 1999 RL: Side Air Bag With Passenger Sensors And First Ever Dual-Stage Passenger SRS

The 1999 Acura 3.5 RL, redesigned inside and out for the new model year, features two major breakthroughs in air bag technology to enhance front seat passenger safety.

One system automatically adjusts the deployment of the front passenger SRS airbag based on the severity of the crash. The Honda patented system, which uses a dual-stage inflator, is the first such design ever to be used , on an automobile.

The second breakthrough is a side air bag system that uses a series of seven sensors to
monitor size and position of the front seat occupant to adjust its deployment. The system uses
information from the sensors to de-activate the bag if the passenger is determined to be too small
and out of position. Together, the innovative new systems offer a highly responsive combination
of supplemental restraint systems.

Acura RL Air Bag Safety

Dual-Stage Inflator

To enhance the protection of the front seat passenger during a variety of frontal impact
collisions, varying air bag deployment power is used in the new 3.5RL. During a slow speed
collision, the dual-stage inflator system for the dash-mounted air bag is triggered in sequence,
resulting in slower overall air bag deployment with less initial force. During a higher speed
collision, both inflators operate simultaneously for full immediate inflation, to correspond with
the greater impact force.

The airbag system logic also controls the operation of the seat belt pretensioners which
automatically tighten the seat belts during a collision to help hold occupants in place. An
additional new feature designed into the system also detects whether the passenger's seat belt is
fastened. If the passenger seat belts not fastened, the air bag deploys full force at a lower
collision speed to help offer more protection to the unbelted occupant.

The operation parameters for the dual-stage air bag inflator and seat belt pretensioner are
shown in the following table:


Impact Speed Seatbelt Pretensioner

Driver Front Air Bag

Passenger Front Air Bag
Mid-range ON ON Activated in sequence
High ON ON Activated Simultaneously

Acura RL Air Bag Safety

Side Air Bag System

Recognizing that a child might occasionally be placed in the front seat of a vehicle
equipped with a side air g,the 3.5RL features an advanced side air bag system which uses a
matrix of seven sensors in the front passenger seat to determine occupant size and seating
position. Six height sensors are integrated into the seat back to determine the passengers size and
a head sensor is built into upper portion of the side bolster to monitor if a small passenger is
leaning into the path of deployment of the bag. The system uses.this information to determine if
it is safe to deploy the side air bag, and de-activates the side air bag if the passenger is too small
and out of position - such as when napping against the door.

To further reduce the risk of unintentional side air bag deployment, the system uses a
three point sensing device, composed of one central sensor and an additional sensor at each side of the vehicle. The sensors determine the force, direction.and type of impact, then deploy the appropriate side air bag.

The 1999 RL benefits from nearly 300 refinements throughout the vehicle for the new
model year, including the air bag enhancements mentioned above.

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