3 ways the automotive industry is designing a safer future | Avery Dennison | LPM

3 ways the automotive industry is designing a safer future 

As automotive technology advances, it’s easy to get caught up in the hype of the future of autonomous driving and the progress of electric vehicles. However, many drivers would first like to see the benefits of new technologies be applied to safety. A 2021 AAA survey found that only 20% of drivers feel manufacturers should focus on self-driving vehicles, while 80% want the focus to be on improving current vehicle safety systems.

 

 

In this article, we take a look at 3 ways automakers are improving the safety of vehicles and how Avery Dennison materials are helping support these efforts. 

 

Airbags - Avery Dennison

 

Airbags: More types and more transparency

While there is development happening on the standard front airbag, such as the one debuted in the 2021 Acura TLX sport sedan that works like a catcher's mitt to reduce brain injury, a lot of the advances in airbag safety are coming from new types being added to cars. 

Some notable examples are Autoliv’s front center airbag that is deployed in the space between the driver and passenger, ZF’s external airbag for side impact collisions, and the new frontal collision airbags for rear-seat passengers in the 2020 Mercedes-Benz S-Class. As well as the growing availability of side and curtain airbags which, when used in combination, have been found to reduce death and injury by 41%. Significantly, in 2020 the Euro NCAP evaluated far-side impact for the first time in their safety assessments, allowing verification of new types of airbag design. 

As a key safety technology, the visibility of the airbag supply chain is important. Not having a clear overview of where materials come from puts manufacturers at risk, as many OEMs have experienced with the ongoing Takata airbag recall. Ford’s additional recall in February 2021, due to replacing airbags with obsolete parts that should have already been disposed of, shows the need for traceability throughout the full manufacturing lifecycle. We at Avery Dennison believe in a future where every physical item will have a unique digital identity and digital life.

Avery Dennison’s active safety system labels are continuously tested and optimized to support the unique shapes and geometries of airbag designs. Suppliers and OEMs can access a wide portfolio of durable solutions they can customize to their needs, such as materials that are able to be sewn directly onto the airbag, silicone adhesives, hot-melt adhesives, permanent warning labels throughout the vehicle, and intelligent labels for digital identification of critical safety parts.  

 

Sun visors - Avery Dennison

 

Sensors: Building trust with safety focused technology 

Cars and digital technology are converging. With 39% of consumers interested in accessing additional digital features after purchasing a vehicle, automakers are starting to unlock the value of connected car data. The recent partnership between Ford and Google is a clear indicator that the auto industry is betting big on the digital driving experience. 

That experience requires data. A 2016 survey by McKinsey & Company showed that while drivers are reluctant to share personal data, 60% of them are willing to do so when the feature is safety or convenience related. 

OEMs can build up driver trust by first introducing technologies that increase safety, such as automated emergency braking, using weight sensors to adapt seat belt restraints, deploying airbags more quickly with collision sensors, and sensors designed to detect driver fatigue and distraction

As digital plays a bigger role in how we drive, sensors will need to be integrated into more components consisting of a wide variety of materials. This is true for internal and external safety sensors, as well as those for convenience such as seat heating and hands-off detection for steering wheels. Avery Dennison offers pressure sensitive adhesives for a wide range of surfaces that are chemical and temperature resistant and compatible with conductive ink technology. Working with OEMs and suppliers to keep sensors secure across any material combination, processing steps and the lifetime of the vehicle.

Seat belts - Avery Dennison

 

Seat belts: Encouraging intuitive usage 

Seatbelts are arguably the most crucial factor in vehicle safety, and there are efforts going into improving the design of the belts themselves. Such as the above mentioned study on using weight sensors to adapt restraint, or early exploration on how seatbelts may need to change if we all start reclining in self driving cars. However, a larger push is being made to add features that encourage the use of seatbelts, such as buckles that light up when they sense a passenger. 

Increasing use is especially important for back seat passengers, who haven’t benefited as much from automotive safety advances. The World Health Organization estimates that while European seat belt usage is 91% when in the front seat, for rear-seat passengers usage drops to 75%. 

Seat belt reminders (SBRs) have been shown to increase usage of a belt in both front and back seat passengers. The Euro NCAP introduced incentives in 2018 for rear seat SBRs and in their 2020 guideline update increased the relevance of the system with new scoring. 

Avery Dennison offers heat-activated solutions that permanently bond to ensure critical seat belt information is available throughout a vehicle’s lifetime. Safety and warning labels can be applied cost effectively with standard heat press, making it a highly efficient solution for seat belt labeling as well for sun visors. This offers more variability than using sewn seat labels, and requires less production line investment. 

 

 

Learn more 

If you’re interested in learning more, have a look at Avery Dennison’s solutions for automotive labelling and automotive tapes or get in touch to speak directly with an expert in automotive materials.